This highly seasoned dish was usually served as part of the second course at the tables of the well-to-do. Collaring meat was “among the skills that the compleat housewife was expected” to know; it was likely a task Martha Washington would have overseen.
This recipe is adapted by culinary historian Nancy Carter Crump from a recipe by Philadelphian Eliza Leslie. She instructed the cook to “take the bone out of a leg of pork” and, after spreading on the filling “thick all over the meat,” to “roll it up very tightly, and tie it down with tape.” Her explanation closely parallels Samuel Johnson’s definition of collaring beef in his Dictionary of the English Language: “to roll it up, and bind it hard and close with a string or collar.”
1 boneless pork loin (5 pounds)
4 cups fresh breadcrumbs (preferably from a country-style loaf)
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dried marjoram
1 1/2 teaspoons dried sweet basil
3/4 teaspoon ground mace
3/4 to 1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried chervil
1 teaspoon dried winter savory
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 cups water
1 cup white wine
2 to 3 dried bay leaves
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Cut the loin nearly in half lengthwise, being careful not to cut entirely through the meat. Trim the excess fat and silver skin from the surface, and then open the loin like a book so that it lies flat. Rub well with salt on both sides.
3. Moisten the breadcrumbs with the water. In a small bowl, combine the sage, marjoram, sweet basil, mace, cloves, nutmeg, thyme, chervil, winter savory, rosemary, pepper, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix into the moistened breadcrumbs, and then blend in the butter and egg, combining thoroughly. Spread thickly over opened surface of the pork.
4. Carefully roll up the stuffed loin, tucking in the stuffing and gently pulling the pork over it to enclose it as you go. Using kitchen twine, tie the rolled pork securely at 2-inch intervals. Place the loin in a large Dutch oven.
5. Combine the water and wine, and pour over the loin. Add the bay leaves. Cover the Dutch oven, and roast 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. To serve, slice pieces of the loin on the diagonal, and arrange on a platter
Serves 6 to 8
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