Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lemon-and-Prosciutto-Stuffed Pork Loin Roast with Broccolini

From the moment I saw this dish in the December issue of Bon Appetit, I couldn't wait to make it, probably because it's so different than the things I usually make. I don't get the opportunity to cook big meat dishes very often. My dad is a grill master, so when I'm at home he cooks all of our meat and at school, I usually only cook for myself. But, over the holidays, an opportunity presented itself in the form of a family dinner with my aunt, uncle and cousins, so I volunteered my services with this dish in mind.

When I began the meal, I had no clue what I was doing. The task seemed daunting, to say the least, but by the end of the night (with a significant amount of help from my dad, thanks dad!), I realized that cooking big meat dishes is not as hard as it seems. I would say the trickiest part of the process was cutting the raw meat. The instructions in the recipe are hard to follow if you have never used the roll-cutting method or at least seen someone else do it, but I found a great video showing how it's done. Skip to about 1 minute in for a demonstration of the roll cut.

Overall, I was pleased with the way the meal turned out, but I do have several things that I would do differently if I made this dish again.

First of all, I would definitely cut down on the amount of lemon the recipe calls for. I used a 4 1/2 lb. roast, instead of a 4 lb. one and didn't increase the amount of lemon I used, and the lemon flavor was still overpowering. I would recommend slicing the lemon extremely thin and either removing the rind or using half of a lemon instead of a whole one.

For a milder lemon flavor, remove the rind before adding the lemon

Secondly, I would double the amount of sauce. The sauce was really yummy, but there was definitely not enough to go around. To double the sauce recipe, use 2 cups of dry white wine, 2 cups low-salt chicken broth, 4 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp of cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp of water, instead of the quantities suggested in the recipe.

Third, I suggest you watch your butcher while he is cutting your meat. I know this may sound silly, but my butcher did the cutting in the back and when I got home I discovered he had cut the roast in half, so I ended up with two roasts, instead of one.

Finally, I recommend checking the temperature of the meat beginning after about 30 minutes, just to be safe. The last thing you want to do is overcook your roast.

With more sauce and less lemon, I would definitely give this recipe two thumbs up. The broccoli is a great accompaniment. Throw in some mashed potatoes and you've got yourself a delicious meal.

Bon appetit!

Lemon-and-Prosciutto-Stuffed Pork Loin Roast with Broccolini
Serves 8-10
1 4-lb. boneless pork loin roast, trimmed
12 thin prosciutto slices (about 6 oz.)
2/3-3/4 large lemon, thinly sliced 
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped
1 1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt, divided
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 1/2 lb. broccolini, trimmed
3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup low-salt chicken broth
1 cup Pinot Grigio or other dry white wine
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp water
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Kitchen string
Meat thermometer

Place pork, fat side down, on work surface with one short end facing you. Using a long, thin, sharp knife and starting 1/2 inch above the underside of the roast, cut 1/2 inch in along the right side. Continue cutting 1/2 inch above the underside, unrolling roast like a carpet. When you are done, you should be left with a long strip of meat 1/2 an inch thick. 

My butcher cut my roast in half. Normally, you should end up with one long piece of meat.

Arrange prosciutto slices evenly over pork, overlapping if necessary. Arrange lemon slices over prosciutto. Cover with panko, then chives. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Turn pork so one short end faces you. Beginning at one short end, roll up pork. Arrange seam side down on work surface (fat side will be facing up). Using kitchen string, tie at 1- to 1 1/2-inch intervals. Transfer pork to roasting pan. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Cook broccolini in pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and cool. Both the pork and the broccolini can be prepped one day ahead of time. To store, cover pork and wrap broccolini in paper towels inside a Ziploc bag. Refrigerate.

Position one rack in the top third and one rack in the bottom third of the oven. Preheat to 450° F. Place pork on lower rack and roast for 15 minutes. Then, reduce oven temperature to 325° F and roast pork until instant-read thermometer registers 145°F when inserted into center of pork, 45 to 60 minutes, depending on thickness of roast. Transfer to cutting board. Increase oven temperature to 375°F.

Arrange broccolini on two baking sheets covered with aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Place racks in the oven and roast until tender and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Switch racks' positions in the oven half way through cooking.

Meanwhile, place roasting pan over 2 burners on medium high heat. Add the broth and wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Boil until mixture has reduced to 1 cup, about 8 minutes. Stir in butter. Add cornstarch mixture and stir until sauce thickens, about 1 to 2 minutes. Strain sauce into a gravy boat and season with salt and pepper.

Using kitchen scissors, cut string along the top of the roast. Cut pork into 1/2 inch slices and arrange on a platter. Drizzle broccolini with fresh lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. 

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