I’ve been thinking about making this dish ever since I saw it on Bon Appetit, but it looked like a lot of work and way too much meat for just a weeknight dinner. Fortunately, you can assemble the loin one day in advance and then just cook it the following day, which made it perfect for Christmas dinner 😉 I was a bit nervous about having to butterfly the loan (no butcher showed up at the counter at the grocery store so I ran out of patience and just took the loin from the refrigerated section), but hardest part proved to be finding the twine!!! Jewel-Osco had a basket of twine just a week before Christmas, but when I went there there was no more twine. Dominick’s also ran out of twine, while the small grocery stores didn’t store any! One of my guests, brought some construction twine, but unfortunately it was impregnated with some petroleum-smelling compounds so we couldn’t use it. In the end, some good old sewing thread had to do 🙂
- 1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
- 3/4 cup dried apples
- 1 lb kale
- 2 Tbsps butter
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 Tbsp garlic paste (or chopped garlic)
- 1 1/2 tsps dried rosemary
- 1 1/2 tsps dried thyme
- 4 Tbsps brandy
- 1 heaping tsp of salt
- 1 lb ground pork
- 3 lb pork loin
- salt and pepper
- 3-4 oz thinly sliced prosciutto
- several rosemary sprigs (3-4″ long)
- 4 Granny Smith apples
- 3 Tbsps butter
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1/2 cup water
I did my best to find these ingredients, but I am sure you can substitute some of them easily. First start by soaking the dried mushrooms and apples separately, in 1 cup hot water for 30 min or until soft. Chop the mushrooms and apples and save the mushroom liquid.
Stir in the chopped mushrooms and apples and cook for a few minutes. Add garlic and herbs and cook for one more minute. Add brandy and cook until it gets absorbed. The original recipe asks for only 2 Tbsps of brandy, but that got evaporated too fast, so I added 2 extra Tbsps to make sure some actually soaked in 😉
Now move on to the loin! Carefully, butterfly the loin, unless you’ve been lucky enough to get the butcher to do it for you 😉 Unfortunately, I don’t have detailed pictures of the butterflying process, because I was too focused on slicing it, but it’s not as hard as it seems! Place the loin perpendicularly on the chopping board (short end facing you). Using a sharp chef’s knife, start cutting about 1/2″ above the underside of the loin. Continue slicing and unwrapping the loin like a carpet until it is completely flat.
Mine is not fully uniform, but I think I did a pretty good job for my first time butterflying a loin, if I can say so myself 😉 Plus, you now get to cover it with plastic wrap and pound the meat until it is more even.
Chill overnight. Let stand at room temperature before cooking it. Preheat oven at 400 F. Tie the loin with twine and insert the rosemary sprigs under the twine. Cut the apples in quarters (or halves if smaller) and place into the roasting pan.
Heat up the second portion of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Sear the pork loin until browned on all sides (~5 minutes). Place pork on top of the apples. Add the cider and water to the skillet and bring to a boil scrapping down the brown bits, then pour it on top of the apples.
Roast in the oven until the inside temperature reaches 140 F (~1 hr 10min). Somehow, I must have gotten too busy in the kitchen, because I can’t seem to find any in between pictures of the roast 😦 But here is the final version:
Let pork rest for 30 min – 2 hrs. Slice it and serve. If you want you can make a sauce using the pan juice, reserved mushroom liquid and chicken stock. My apples exploded in the oven, so I mostly had apple puree instead of pan juices and skipped the sauce step.
This roast turned out very tasty and got lots of compliments. The mushrooms and apples infused a lot of flavor into the pork. I will definitely be making this again, but first I should try to find some real twine 😉