Servings: 8 Prep: 1 hr Cook: 1 hr Total: 18 hrs
This is probably my most time consuming and complicated dish on this website, to date. It’s not fast or easy, but … what it lacks in ease, it makes up for in taste and pure specialness. It’s something I designed for the holiday dinner table to delight and impress, without costing an arm and a leg. It’s time consuming and a bit tricky, but … COMPLETELY doable and everyone will be floored with the taste and presentation.
This beautiful pork loin is moist, because it’s been brined. It’s a bit sweet, because of the dried cranberries and maple. It’s also got a sincere “Christmas Ham” quality to it, due to the cloves and orange. It’s got that holiday taste. I made a similar pork loin many years ago, but I used chestnuts, in place of the pecans. I didn’t use them here, because I wanted to ensure people could find the ingredients in their town. If you can find chestnuts … by all means … throw them in the pork roll. They fit right in!
Do not shy away from trying this pork dish. It takes upwards of 18 hours, but between the taste, presentation and unquestionable festive and special qualities that it has … it’s more than worth it. Take the time to put it on your holiday dinner table, this year. You won’t regret it!
Note: Before making this, make sure you’ve got 24 hours, butcher’s twine and that you’ve watched this video, showing the cutting, stuffing and tying method. This will just help you understand the process, but we’re going to additionally brine our pork, and will be using a different stuffing and won’t be roasting on the veggies (although you could … and you wouldn’t be the first!)
Cranberry-Spinach Stuffed Pork LoinPrint Rate
- 6 lbs pork loin boneless and center cut
- 16 cups cold maple brine from pork chop recipe
- 1 lb fresh spinach leaves washed and stems removed
- 1 tsp cloves ground
- 2 tbsp fresh orange zest (peel)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup pecan halves crumbled and toastes
- 20 each fresh sage leaves
- 2 tbsp light olive oil
- salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Butterfly the pork loin, so that you have a large rectangular sheet of pork loin. Submerge this in your brine for between 6 and 18 hours.
- 6 to 18 hours later, pre-heat an oven to 450 F.
- Fill a medium pot with water. Bring to a boil.
- Place roughly 12 good sized ice cubes into a separate mixing bowl, and add 2 cups of water.
- Once the water is boiling, add a little salt. Then, plunge the spinach into the boiling water and stir for 20 to 30 seconds. The spinach will quickly wilt and darken in color.
- After 20 to 30 seconds, pour the spinach and water into a colander, then transfer the hot spinach into the ice water. Stir the spinach, to stop the cooking and make sure that it is completely cold.
- Remove the spinach from the icy water and SQUEEZE the spinach with your hands, until almost all the water has been squeezed out. This should leave you with a clump or two of cooked, hand pressed spinach wads. Break the clumps up into nice strands of spinach. Set aside.
- Remove the pork from the brine and wash well in the sink. Discard the brine. After washing the pork, completely dry it with a towel and place on a cutting board, with the fat side down.
- If your pork is unevenly cut, you can cover the pork with a sheet or two of plastic wrap, then pound it more evenly with a mallet (or the bottom of a heavy pan).
- Season the pork with a little salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle the cloves and orange zest on the pork.
- Evenly distribute the spinach over the surface of the pork, leaving 3 or 4 inch exposed pork section, without spinach. This will form the seam, once it's rolled.
- Evenly distribute the cranberries and pecans.
- Add fresh sage leaves.
- Roll the pork tightly, like a jelly roll, or cinnamon rolls. Start at the end opposite the end with the exposed pork. Roll towards that end, keeping the roll as tight and even, as possible, while rolling it. Set it aside.
- Tie the pork loin roast with butchers twine, using the method shown in the video, above. The roast should be even, and tight, so that it forms a nice round cylinder of pork.
- Rub the pork roast with oil, then season with a bit of salt and pepper.
- On a baking tray, place the pork in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to 325 F, after 10 minutes.
- Roast the pork for about 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature is about 140 F.
- Remove the pork from the oven and cover with foil. Set in a warm place for about 15 minutes to relax. After 15 minutes, you may remove the twine, slice and serve.
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* Learn More: More about this recipe and nutrition …