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Rolled Pork Loin with Porcini, Pancetta and Garden Greens

I’m oh so tired of politics and, after watching The Big Short today, the best way to restore sanity is to return to one of my other favorite things, cooking.

I’ve been playing around with this dish for a while. It’s certainly not original but this version works. There’s a lot of flexibility and, as noted, all kinds of substitutions and additions can be made. It serves 4 - 6. If you brine the meat as suggested start the day before. If not it takes about 2 hours.

Start with a 2 or 2 1/2 lb boneless pork loin. Double butterfly it. Lay loin on its side and about 1/3 third of the way into the loin, cut down to about 3/4 inch before the edge. Open the loin. You’ll have an uneven piece with one side twice the thickness of the other. At the inside edge of the thicker side begin cutting in the same manner through till about 3/4 inch before the outside edge. Open again. You’ll have one large piece three times the length of the original loin and 1/3 its original thickness.

Brine the butterflied loin. A brine that works for this dish is 1/3 cup kosher salt, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 bay leaves, 8 juniper berries and 8 pepper corns in 6 - 8 cups of water. Any of a variety of flavored brines are okay. Refrigerate overnight.

“Truffle” flavored butter paste

2 oz dried porcinis, rehydrate in warm water and chop (chanterelles or pine mushrooms work too). Strain soaking liquid to remove grits and save to add to the sauce (see below).

5 garlic cloves - mashed, chopped

1 t kosher salt

1 handful of fresh herbs, chopped finely (rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano — heavy on the rosemary). If you don’t have fresh use dried but reduce amounts.

3 T butter (soften)

3 T olive oil (or a mix of olive and truffle oil)

1 T ground black pepper

Mix everything together in a bowl. Adjust amounts of anything that you feel it needs. The paste should be thick but spreadable. Other tastes can be combined if you wish. A dollop of Dijon mustard works.


8 (or more) oz thinly sliced Italian meats (cured meats like pancetta, prosciutto and capicola as well as mortadella all work well)

6 (or more) oz of greens (chard, spinach, collards all work — just use the leaves, remove stems and save for another dish)


Preheat oven to 325° F.

Remove loin from brine, pat dry, lay flat and cover with plastic wrap and using a rolling pin or kitchen hammer pound the entire piece to about 1/2 inch thickness.

Spread paste over the open loin. Add a layer of greens and one of meats. Spread more of the paste over the top. Add another layer of greens and meats. If you still have meats and greens left, do another layer.

Roll the loin and tie with string. You’ll probably need to tuck in bits of meat and greens. Score fat gently and brush with the remaining paste.

Bake in a oiled pan, fat side up, for 50 minutes. Raise oven temperature to 425° and bake another 20 minutes. Interior temperature should be around 145° - 150°. Remove and let sit while making sauce.


Put roasting pan on burner at medium heat. Remove any large pieces of fat. Deglaze with a mix of:

3/4 c chicken stock, 1/2 c beef stock, 1/4 c red wine and the left-over soaking liquid.

Scrape pan, bring sauce to a gentle boil and thicken with a mix of cornstarch and chicken stock (about 1 or 2 T’s of each should do). Add slowly. If the sauce is lumpy use an emersion blender.

While sauce thickens, remove string from the loin and slice.

Goes well with risotto.

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