Holiday roasts — as delicious as they are — often suffer from slab-of-meat syndrome. Which is to say, you plop down a honking hunk of meat and… that’s about it. Not the prettiest or most festive item on the table.
So we decided to see what would happen if we dressed up a basic roast so that it not only was beautiful, but also packed a ton of flavor. This stuffed pork loin is the delicious result. We start by butterflying a basic pork loin, then fill it with a crazy good blend of bacon, onions, fresh sage and rosemary, and some crunchy panko breadcrumbs. Next, we roll it all up and pop it in the oven. When you slice it, you’ll see this is no dull roast.
But we didn’t stop there. We also make a rich cranberry-white wine-butter sauce to drizzle over the pork at the table. Because it’s the holidays, after all.
STUFFED PORK LOIN WITH CRANBERRY BEURRE BLANC
Start to finish: 2 hours (45 minutes active)
8 ounces bacon, diced
2 medium yellow onions, diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
2- to 2 1/2-pound pork loin
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons coarse ground mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large shallots, finely chopped
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Heat the oven to 350 F. Line a 9-by-9-inch baking pan with foil, then mist with cooking spray.
In a large skillet over medium-high, cook the bacon until mostly crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the onions, sage, rosemary and garlic, then cook until the onion is tender and starting to brown, 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in the breadcrumbs and set aside.
Place the pork loin on a cutting board so a long side is facing you. Starting at one short end of the loin, carefully cut it through the center horizontally, splitting the loin nearly in half. Cut only to within about 1 inch of the other short end. Open the sliced loin like a book, then lay it flat on the cutting surface. Repeat the cutting motion across the center, again slicing from one short side to the other, and again leaving about 1 inch intact. Open the loin again like a book and lay flat.
For a video demonstrating this cutting technique, go to https://youtu.be/yMO00l4uDlE .
Fit several sheets of plastic wrap over the flattened pork on the cutting board. Using a meat mallet, pound the pork until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Remove the plastic wrap and season with salt and black pepper.
Spread the mustard evenly over the pork, then sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over it. Starting with a short side, roll up the pork like a jelly roll. Using kitchen twine or skewers, secure the roll then transfer to the prepared pan. Roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the center reaches 145 F.
While the pork roasts, make the sauce. In a medium skillet over medium, heat the oil. Add the shallots and cook for 6 to 7 minutes, or until tender and starting to brown. Add the cranberries and continue to cook until they begin to break down and become saucy. Stir in the wine and sugar, then cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Lower the heat and stir in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking to combine as it melts before adding the next tablespoon.
Slice the pork roast and serve with the sauce.
Nutrition information per serving: 550 calories; 340 calories from fat (62 percent of total calories); 38 g fat (15 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 115 mg cholesterol; 510 mg sodium; 14 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 32 g protein.
Alison Ladman is a chef, food writer and recipe developer for The Associated Press. She also owns The Crust and Crumb Baking Company in Concord, New Hampshire.