Learn how to butterfly pork loin and make this bright and festive Cranberry and Rosemary Pork Roll that is sure to be the star of any dinner table.
As we enter into December, we start thinking about Christmas parties.
Whether it’s a dinner party, an appetizer get-together or a cookie exchange, it seems that food always plays a big role in these gatherings.
It’s the time to pull out the nice dishes and think about what fancy recipes you can impress your guests with.
Making a beautiful pork roll
Without a doubt, a pork roll is a pretty impressive main course.
It seems like such an art form to turn a solid mass of meat into a beautifully rolled creation. And, it’s easy to be intimidated if you’ve never rolled meat before. But, that shouldn’t stop you, because once you’ve tackled butterflying a piece of meat, you’ll have a whole new realm of impressive main dishes that you can explore. (Like our Mushroom and Swiss Chard Pork Roll.)
How to butterfly pork loin
There are a number of ways to butterfly pork loin or roast, but we like the Double Butterfly method because it is so simple and straightforward.
Cut 1: Place your loin on the cutting board. Holding the knife parallel to the cutting board, make a slit into the long side of the loin about a third of the way down from the top. Make sure that you stop cutting before you reach the other side of the meat, so you create a flap that is still attached.
Cut 2: Next, turn the meat 180 degrees, so the the side you have not yet cut is accessible. Cut this side, in the same manner, but make the cut 1/3 of the way up from the bottom of the loin. Again, stop before you reach the other side of the meat. Your loin should now look like it is accordion folded.
Pound it out: Flatten the meat, you should have a rectangle. Using a meat mallet, pound the meat to an even thickness. Since meat is a muscle, it will move and shift as you pound it. Start with the thickest sections and keep working until the rectangle of meat is roughly even and about an 1/2 inch thick.
There you have it!
How to roll your butterflied pork loin
Now that we have a nice and flat, butterflied pork loin, we will brine the pork to infuse it with moisture and flavor. After brining, we roll it with the stuffing and tie it up with kitchen string.
Browning the meat in a cast iron skillet before baking it, seals in the juices and gives it a beautiful golden color.
Then, we let the oven do the remainder of the cooking.
How to make a pan gravy for your pork roll
If you like to serve your meat with a bit of gravy, don’t be too hasty to clean your skillet after browning the meat! Those leftover bits of stuffing and stick pieces of pork can be made into a simple gravy.
Add 1 cup of water to the pan after browning the pork roll. Heat the water over medium-high heat and scrape all the stuck bits of pork and stuffing off of the pan. Whisk 1 Tbsp of cooking sherry with 1 Tbsp flour and enough water to create a thick paste. Pour this mixture into the water in your pan, whisking to combine. Heat the gravy and simmer until the gravy reaches your desired consistency. Add salt and pepper as desired.
This bright and festive Cranberry and Rosemary Pork Roll is sure to be the star of any dinner table.
- ¼ c brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 1 Tbsp rosemary, dry
- 2 c water, boiling
- Roughly 12 ice cubes
- 2 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed
- 1 ½ c fresh cranberries, whole
- ½ c whole wheat breadcrumbs
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 ½ tsp rosemary
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp salted butter
- Mix ¼ c brown sugar, salt and rosemary in a 9x13 baking dish. Pour in the boiling water and stir to dissolve. Stir in the ice cubes to cool the mixture down.
- Double butterfly the pork loin: Place the loin on the cutting board. Holding the knife parallel to the cutting board, make a lengthwise cut into the side of the roast, just above center, stopping before you go through the other side. Rotate the tenderloin 180? and make a similar, lengthwise cut, just below center, into the side opposite of the original cut, stopping before you cut all the way through. Open the two cuts, so you have one, large rectangle of meat.
- Using a meat mallet, pound the pork to an even thickness.
- Place the butterflied and pounded pork into the brine. Add more water as necessary to cover the pork. Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
- While the pork is brining, place the whole cranberries in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse until the cranberries are coarsely chopped. Add the breadcrumbs, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, rosemary and pepper. Pulse to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Remove the pork from the brine. Rinse it well and pat dry with paper towels.
- Spread the cranberry stuffing over the pork. Roll tightly and secure with kitchen string. *
Preheat your oven to 375F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Heat the butter in a large cast iron skillet, over medium-high heat. Add the pork and brown on all sides. Place browned pork loin on the prepared baking sheet.
Roast the pork for 45 min - 1 hour, or until a thermometer inserted into the center of the thickest part of the meat (not the stuffing) registers 145F.
- Transfer the roast to a serving dish or clean cutting board, and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
*To make this dish ahead of time: Wrap the stuffed and tied pork loin in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Let the loin come to room temperature for 2 hours before continuing with the instructions as indicated.