Livestock of all kinds was raised on George Washington’s outlying farms. His farm reports list hogs at Dogue Run and Muddy Hole, for instance; they generally were butchered in early December.
E. Smith, whose recipe is adapted here by culinary historian Nancy Carter Crump, recommended applesauce as an accompaniment.
1 boneless pork loin (4 to 5 pounds)
Ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dried marjoram
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 large egg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
About 1/3 cup lard or vegetable shortening, melted and cooled, plus more as needed
Applesauce for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 500°F. Set a rack in a roasting pan.
2. Rinse and dry the pork loin. Using a very sharp paring knife, carefully remove any silver skin and excess fat from the surface. Rub salt, pepper, and marjoram all over the loin.
3. Using the same paring knife or another very sharp knife, make 1 1/2- to 2-inch-deep slits along surface of the loin, about 1 1/2 inches apart, being careful not to cut all the way through the loin.
4. Combine the breadcrumbs with the sage, lemon zest, nutmeg, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the egg and butter, mixing together thoroughly. Using your fingers, push the stuffing into the slits, packing loosely. (Any remaining stuffing can be pressed over the surface of the loin to create a delicious crusty topping.) Place the pork in the roasting pan. Carefully pour the lard over the meat.
5. Roast the pork for about 5 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 400°F and roast for another 30 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350°F, and continue roasting, basting occasionally with the drippings or additional melted lard, for 2 to 2 1/2 hours to an internal temperature of about 150°F. When the pork is done, the juices will run clear when it is pierced with a fork. Remove the loin to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and set aside to rest for about 15 minutes before slicing.
6. Cut the loin into slices as desired, arrange on a platter, and serve with Applesauce.
Serves 6 to 8
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