Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Day 2008: Stuffed Pork Loin with a Mushroom-Wine Gravy

I had so much fun creating my Christmas Menu this year. I started discussing it with my family about a month ago and we all agreed that we wanted something different - not a turkey! We thought about a Mexican meal, or maybe Spanish, or Italian. I decided to use Italian cuisine as my inspiration, and came up with this menu:

  • Pork loin stuffed with a stuffing-spinach-red pepper mixture
  • Mushroom-wine gravy
  • Sides and Veggies (see this post): Cauliflower with Prosciutto and Tomatoes, Broccoli Rabe with Garlic, and Roasted Potatoes

The stuffed pork loin was my own creation. Here is what I did -
  • Whole pork loin; I had a 7 pound piece of pork so we cut it in half and used half for the stuffed pork loin, and the other half for pork chops.
  • 1 package prepared stuffing; I used stove top. I don't normally use or eat this stuffing alone or as a side, but it makes a great base when stuffing meat.
  • 1 c frozen spinach sauteed with 1 finely chopped red pepper, until the red pepper is slightly tender.
  • Olive oil, salt, pepper
  • Butcher's string
Cutting the pork was the hardest part. Take your time and make long, even cuts and you'll have great results.
  • First, make a cut down the side of the pork and almost all the way through to the other side. Open it like a book:

  • Pound out the pork. After this step, one side was still a bit too thick so Jon had another idea - cut the left side of the "book" to open another flap, sort of like a book flap. Be very careful not to cut all the way through. When you open this next flap, you'll have what looks like a tri-fold brochure:

  • Spread the stuffing in a thin layer onto the pork, and top with a thin layer of the spinach-red pepper mixture
  • Roll the pork - don't roll it so it's in the same shape and orientation that you started with or you'll put too much pressure on the cuts and it may break. Instead, roll it from what would be the tops of the brochure pages (like these analogies?). Tie the entire pork with butcher's string.

  • Rub some olive oil onto the pork and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Cook uncovered in a 475 degree oven for 20 minutes.
  • Turn oven down to 350 and bake covered for another hour, or until the temperature of the pork comes to 150-155 (it will raise another 5-10 degrees after cooking). Jon bought us a great probe thermometer that sits outside the oven, with a wire connected to a probe that stays in the meat the entire cooking. It was really cool to be able to watch the temperature rise, and not opening the oven door to test the temperature helps with the cooking time and temperature.
  • Let rest before slicing.
How beautiful is this pork?? Everyone stood around watching Jon as he sliced through the pork. There were many Ooohs and Aaahs as the spiral design in the center was revealed.

Mushroom-Wine Gravy
I found a recipe on the Epicurious site for a gravy that I liked so my sister jumped right into the kitchen and made it. We didn't use the roasting pan that the pork cooked in, but instead deglazed it with a bit of chicken broth, and then poured those drippings into a clean pot.
  • 3/4 lb sliced white mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic put through the garlic press
  • 1 c dry white wine
  • 1 c chicken broth
  • Add mushrooms and garlic to pan with drippings. Saute until mushrooms begin to brown, about 6 minutes.
  • Add wine and broth; boil until sauce thickens enough to coat spoon, about 12 minutes. Our sauce never really thickened, so my sister made a slurry of 1/3 c chicken broth and 1 heaping tbsp flour and slowly added it to the sauce. It helped a bit. However, I kind of liked that it was more of an au jus rather than a creamy sauce.
Not only was this sauce delicious on the pork, it was perfect over the potatoes as well.
Here is my plate - I love all the colors!

I also loved my simple centerpiece -

And finally, our adorable dog being such an angel -

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  1. That looks delicious and beautiful! Thanks for the step-by-step instructions with the pork. They are so helpful.

  2. You did it! Glad you figured out the butterflying of the pork loin. It looks great and hope your holidays went well!

  3. Yes - we figured it out!! Once Jon made that final cut it totally clicked in my head - that is what the directions were trying to tell me but I couldn't picture the book flap cut until I saw it.

  4. Hi Mary Ellen, I just wanted to stop in and wish you a happy holiday and a fabulous New Year! You are one amazing cook, I have loved following all of your delicious recipes this year. Take care.


  5. The dinner looks amazing! Sounds you all had a nice Christmas. My sister and I are looking over all the recipes. Daisy looks so cute too! Can't wait to see what you make next.

  6. The pork looks fantastic! So does your centerpiece. Did you make it yourself? What is it made of?

  7. Thanks! I bought the small tree at Target - I'm not that crafty :) All I did was put gold stones in the bottom of the candle holders, fill them with water, and float a candle in each one.

  8. looks beautiful! the pork looks fabulous!

  9. That stuffed pork looks really tasty!

  10. A mouthwatering holiday meal! The meat looks like it came out quite moist and the filling sounds delicious :).