If you’ve never served a rolled pork loin, this Christmas might just be the time to do it!
While it may look intimidating, the technique to butterfly a loin just takes caution, not brain surgery. If the layers aren’t exact, no one is going to notice.
Just don’t cut through the opposite side!
The goal here is to turn this hunk of meat into a long flat piece of meat.
Think about a letter you would receive in the mail. The 8.5×11 piece of paper is typically folded into thirds. Now, image this pork loin is that folded piece of paper. You just have to make the cuts to get it to unfold.
First – You will be slicing the long side of the loin. Your first cut needs to be about 1/3 of the way down the side. Slice through until you have only a small strip of meat that will hold the top layer to the rest of the meat when you fold it back.
Second – Turn the meat 180 degrees. Now you are slicing into the bottom 2/3 of the meat, starting from where you stopped your last cut, but cutting in the opposite direction. Again, stop before you cut all the way through.
Two cuts, and your meat folds open like that long Christmas letter you look forward to receiving from your best friend!
If your layers are less even in thickness than you would like, you can always pound them to uniform thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. (It’s a good way to get out some of that end of December stress!)
After layering all the good stuff on your, now flat and stress free, pork loin, roll that baby up nice and tight.
You will want to have three strips of kitchen twine handy to tie the roll so it doesn’t spring open and mess up the Christmas zen you’ve just created.
The cooking process is two-step as well. Searing the meat locks in the juices and gives a really impressive golden color to the loin. Then, low and slow cooking gets the juices flowing and gets the whole house anticipating the big reveal at dinner time!
Here’s a bonus – You could do all the work a day ahead of time. Just cover and refrigerate the loin after you roll it. The next morning, give it a quick sear and pop it into the oven to roast. Or, you can take the roast out of the refrigerator 2 hours prior to cooking to allow it to come to room temperature. (It might take slightly longer to cook if it comes straight from the fridge, since it’s cooking from cold rather than room temp. Just keep testing it with a thermometer looking for that magic 170 degrees!)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, cut into 2” slices
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
- 8 oz fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- ½ cup dry white wine (we used Sauvignon Blanc)
- 2 Tbsp whole grain mustard
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- ¾ tsp chopped fresh thyme
- ⅛ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 (3 lb) pork loin
- Coarse salt and ground black pepper
- 1 bunch Swiss Chard (5-6 large leaves), stalk removed
- Heat oil in a nonstick skillet.
- Add onion, garlic, salt, and pepper; sauté, until onion begins to soften (3-5 min).
- Add mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to caramelize (5-7 min).
- Slowly stir in wine and cook, scraping bottom of skillet to loosen any browned bits, (2-3 min).
- Add mustard and stir until incorporated.
- Transfer mushroom mixture to a bowl and let cool while preparing the meat.
- Mix herbs together in a small bowl with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- To butterfly the loin, you will make a C cut so that the loin folds open in thirds like a letter. Slice the length of the loin, ⅓ of the way down from the top. Stop before cutting all the way through, so you leave a section of meat connected. Fold the section you just cut back, to expose the center of the loin. Then, starting where you finished your previous cut, cut in the opposite direction to slice the bottom ⅔ of the roast in two layers. (See pictures above.)
- If necessary, pound the meat out to an even thickness.
- Lay de-veined Swiss chard leaves over the pork and evenly distribute mushroom mixture over the leaves.
- From the short end, roll the loin tightly. Tie in three places with kitchen twine.
- Rub the entire, rolled pork loin with the herb rub and place it in an aluminum foil lined baking dish fitted with a roasting rack.
- Roast for 20 minutes. Rotate the pan and continue roasting for an additional 20 minutes. (If the meat begins to darken too much, tent it loosely with aluminum foil.)
- After 40-45 mintues, check the temperature of the loin by inserting a thermometer into the center of the roll, the meat is done when the internal temperature has reached 160F.
- If necessary, return the roast to the oven to cook for another 20-30 mintues. When the meat has reached 160F, remove the roll from the oven.
- Let the meat rest for 10 minutes for the juices to settle before slicing and serving.