Pork roll-ups filled with Greek flavours!
Sometimes our parents like to get fancy. Lovers of food and cooking, to this day they still enjoy watching Greek and non-Greek cooking shows (Akis is a favourite) and perusing through recipes that they find in the local Greek paper or behind those daily calendars that they get from church or our local Greek supermarket. Of course, they don’t actually follow the recipes that they happen upon, because let’s face it, that’s not how they function. Instead they get inspired, and over the years have come up with some pretty delicious and even unexpected things. We remember their sudden interest in Asian cuisine and the resultant homemade egg rolls. We have no idea how or why they decided to make egg rolls, but once they did, egg rolls and their accompanying jarred plum sauce became staples at every family gathering. Their popularity resulted in our aunts and koubari and other family friends making egg rolls too and so there you had it; a buffet table filled with dolmades, moussaka, keftedes, and egg rolls. Of course.
We suppose that all this egg roll rolling had them think about other delicious things they could roll up and serve. So one evening long ago, these pork fillet roll-ups, filled with spinach, feta, capers and sun-dried tomatoes made an appearance, and we were so glad that they did. We all fell in love with this dish from the first time we had it and we still love it and request it often. Whenever we ask our parents where they got the idea for one of their newer creations, their responses are about as vague as they are when we ask for measurements and ingredients to one of their recipes. These pork roll-ups are likely the result of our parents seeing a similar recipe on a TV show or hearing about it from a friend and then coming home and together, making their own version.
The pork used for this recipe is very thinly sliced pork fillet. Because the meat is so thin, it cooks rather quickly. Searing it first before putting it into the oven is quite important. Not only does this step add flavour, it also browns the meat nicely. Skipping this step results in a very bland looking meal.
If you don’t want to use pork fillet, you can always substitute veal or chicken cutlets; your cooking time may need to be adjusted.
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Check out these 3 sides, that would go great with this dish:
Spinach and feta pork roll-ups (Χοιρινό με σπανάκι και φέτα)
- Kitchen string or toothpicks
- 8 pork cutlets
- 10 ounce bag fresh spinach
- 2 green onions chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
- 1/3 cup crumbled Greek feta
- 1 tbsp capers chopped
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil for frying pork roll-ups
- Prepare your spinach by removing any large stems. Finely chop the spinach leaves. Wash well and drain but do not dry your spinach.
- In a medium sized frying pan heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and saute the chopped green onions. After a minute or two, add the spinach to the pan. Cook, stirring regularly, for approximately 5 minutes until your spinach has wilted and cooked.
- Transfer the spinach mixture to a fine sieve and drain well. You can use the back of a spoon to press down on the spinach to help squeeze out the liquid. After the spinach has cooled you can also use your hands or a cheesecloth to remove more of the liquid.
- In a bowl combine the spinach, feta, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and the egg. Mix well until all is combined.
- Place your pork fillets on a flat surface. Place 1 - 2 tablespoons of the spinach filling at one end of each pork fillet and then carefully roll it up. Use your kitchen string or toothpicks to secure the rolls. Season your pork with salt and pepper to taste.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and add the pork roll-ups. Fry them for a few minutes per side, until gold brown.
- Transfer the roll ups to a parchment paper lined baking tray and bake, in the center rack of your oven, for 7 - 10 minutes, until cooked through.
- Remove from oven and cut away the kitchen string or remove toothpicks before serving.