loin with Chef Ted Reader's Mediterranean stuffing
makes a great summer recipe.
already has got its steaks, slabs and skewers. With summer
coming, maybe it’s time to slap another "s" down
on that sizzlin’ hot grate: as in "stuffed."
can mean extra prep work, not something most people will
naturally want to deal with on a lazy, hazy summer day. But
it’s all worth it to Ted Reader, a Toronto chef,
barbecuing expert and product developer, who has a number of
stuffed recipes in his latest book, "Gastro
Grilling" (Pintail, $25).
No. 1 reason is to add fun to your food, to change it
up," Reader says in making a case for stuffing.
"You can grill burgers, hot dogs, steaks and chicken
breasts, and that’s great. But there’s so much more you
can do to make these things better."
can add flavor and moisture to foods, particularly leaner
cuts of meat, says Jamie Purviance, an El Dorado Hills,
Calif.-based chef and author of several grilling cookbooks.
(The most recent? "Weber’s Big Book of Burgers,"
Oxmoor, $21.95, published in April.)
think about pork and poultry and sometimes beef,"
Purviance says, when asked what he tends to stuff. "A
flank steak works well, but it takes a bit of handiwork with
a knife. Butterflying something, rolling it up and tying it
is not necessarily for beginners."
agrees. Stuffing before grilling allows "a little bit
of showing off," he says, "but it also requires
ingredients may need to be precooked. You’ll have to cut a
pocket in thicker cuts of meat to hold the filling, and tie
or skewer the pocket shut so the stuffing won’t fall out.
pliable pieces of meat, chicken or fish can be spread with a
filling and rolled, but you still need to tie that roll
out these tips from Reader and Purviance on how to making
grilling stuffed foods trouble-free:
Freeze cheeses and butters before incorporating into the
stuffing to help prevent leaking. It will take longer for
them to melt during cooking. Choose slow-melting cheeses.
"String cheese takes forever to run," Reader says.
"Skim-milk mozzarella takes a while, pepper jack or
Monterey melt much more slowly."
Use a moderately high grilling temperature, about 350
degrees. Do what Purviance calls the "sear and
slide": Sear the stuffed meat over direct heat to brown
it, then slide it away from the heat source to finish
cooking with indirect heat.
Precook certain stuffing ingredients, like raw meat or
mushrooms, to speed up overall cooking time.
Tie stuffed meat tightly and firmly to keep stuffing from
falling out. "It’s got to be like you’re tying a
shoe," Purviance says. If rolling meat, roll tightly
before tying. "Take your time and be patient,"
Reader says. "If four pieces of twine aren’t enough,
add a fifth or sixth piece."
Appearances count. Your stuffed meat should look attractive,
with no stuffing oozing out. Aim for firm, not floppy, the
Don’t place just-stuffed meat on the grill. Wrap it up and
refrigerate for up to one hour. The chilling "allows
the stuffing and meat to become one," Reader says.
"The stuffing won’t fall out when you take it to the
Worried the stuffing still might fall out? Reader recommends
you wrap the meat in aluminum foil and begin cooking on the
grill. Unwrap after the initial sear and continue grilling.
Let the stuffed meat rest before slicing. "That will
help let the juices settle back in the meat and may let the
stuffing hold a little bit better," Purviance says.
about 8 cups
Reader, author of "Gastro Grilling," uses this
filling to stuff whole chickens, chicken breasts, pork loin
or tenderloins, or turkey. Follow your usual cooking method
for each meat, making sure the meat and stuffing cook
through. "My stuffing recipe can easily be modified to
work with a variety of meats and seafoods and to give you a
whole new twist on stuffing," he writes in an email.
His variations below follow this basic recipe. (Leftover
stuffing? No worries, writes Reader: "I will often wrap
it tightly in foil and heat it on the grill separately.
Everyone loves stuffing. Or find something else to
loaf day-old sourdough bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about
4 1/2 cups)
slices bacon, coarsely chopped
stick (1/4 cup) butter
celery, finely diced
medium onion, finely diced
cloves garlic, minced
cup finely diced dried apricots
tablespoon each, chopped: fresh parsley, fresh sage
and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup apple juice or broth
Place bread cubes on a baking sheet; transfer to a
200-degree oven to dry slightly, 30 minutes. (For chicken
breasts and other small cuts, use coarse breadcrumbs, about
Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat, stirring
occasionally, until rendered and almost crisp, 8-10 minutes.
Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Remove all but 2
tablespoons bacon fat from skillet; save extra bacon fat for
the butter to the pan; when the butter begins to bubble,
stir in the celery, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until
softened but not browned, 2-3 minutes. Pour the mixture over
the bread cubes. Add the reserved bacon, plus the apricots
and herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper; gently mix.
Drizzle with apple juice, starting with 1/4 cup and adding
more if required. Mix again to combine. The stuffing mixture
should be quite moist but not runny, enough to soften the
bread and bind all ingredients together.
information per ½ cup serving: 85 calories, 4 g fat, 2 g
saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 9 g carbohydrates, 2 g
protein, 115 mg sodium, 1 g fiber
Mediterranean: Replace apricots with 3 tablespoons diced
sun-dried tomatoes and 1/2 cup cubed mozzarella. Replace the
bacon with 6-8 slices pancetta. Use with pork loin roast or
a rack of veal.
Smoked cheese and mushroom: Skip the apricots and bacon. Use
1/2 to 3/4 cup cubed smoked Emmenthal or Gouda cheese, plus
1/4 cup sauteed, chopped leeks and 1/2 cup sauteed, chopped
mushrooms (Reader likes to use chanterelles). Use to stuff a
chicken breast or portobello mushroom caps or in a flank
Lobster and brie: Skip the apricots and replace with 1/2 cup
cubed brie cheese (freeze cheese to slow melting while
cooking) and 1/2 cup cooked lobster or crab meat. Use with
salmon, sole, halibut or chicken breasts.
Bacon, apple and cheddar: Switch 1 apple, diced, for the
apricots. Add 1/2 cup cubed aged white cheddar cheese and a
pinch of cinnamon.