Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Dec 18, 2007 07:13 AM

Calling all Holiday Pork Loin recipes please!

While I generally prefer pork shoulder or leg to the loin, I'm considering making a pork loin roast to grace our Christmas table. I like that it's easy to work with, doesn't take long to roast, and is relatively affordable to feed a crowd. I'm making the entire meal so am aiming for minimal prep w/ maximum deliciousness. We'll have about 14 people (moderate eaters), so I'm thinking of making two 4 lb. roasts (is that enough?).

In my mind, I'm picturing some sort of stuffed loin. I've made a standard one stuffed w/ dried apricots, prunes, thyme, a little cubed bread, so I'm looking for something a little different this year. Taking inspiration from Zuni, I was thinking of pre-seasoning the butterflied meat for a day or two using fennel seed, garlic, and other seasonings used for the mock porchetta. Then I'd fill w/ a light bread stuffing of caramelized onions, red chard (very Christmas-y), a little parmesan a la the panade recipe but not so heavy and rich. Tie up and roast. Sounds good to me, but what do think?

I also came across the below recipe that was linked to a thread on the Media board. Scroll down for Mario Batali's Pork Loin alla Porchetta with Myrtle. I like how it uses ground shoulder for the stuffing and am intrigued by the fresh myrtle. Has anyone tried making this recipe? Can dried myrtle be found in bulk sections of natural food stores? Where would I find fresh?

So do you have any particularly festive and holiday-ish pork loin recipes to throw into the mix for consideration? Stuffed or unstuffed is fine. What internal temp. do you aim for? In the past, I believe I aimed for 140F, but I notice that Mario's recipe says 130F. Thanks for your help!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I have had no luck finding myrtle at a number of New York Italian speciality stores. In my Sardinian cookbook, the author recommends finding it at nurseries. Here's a link to the Batali pork loin I'm making - though I don't know how festive it is:

    5 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      Thanks, MMRuth. Your recipe sounds and looks delicious, and the inclusion of honey sounds interesting. So roasting a pork loin at 400F doesn't dry out the meat too much? I noticed that the WSJ Batali recipe that I linked doesn't include a temp. at all; it just says to put it into the oven.

      Have you ever tried myrtle before? From the link below, it sounds fairly bitter and astringent. I don't have a good feeling about finding it around here, although I may stumble upon it in dried form. It sounds like rosemary might be a decent substitute...

      1. re: Carb Lover

        I've made the recipe twice and it is always nice and moist inside and a bit rosy in the center. Maybe the wine etc. mixture helps keep the inside moist. I've not tried myrtle. I've heard that in small quantities, bay leaves can be substituted, but I'm not sure I'd like a recipe with a lot of bay leaves! Let me know if you find it. Rosemary sounds like a good idea - or sage. Looks like the basic technique is the same in terms of getting the butterflied/pounded loin, filling it and rolling it up. I noticed that "your" Batali calls for an internal temp of 130 rather than 140. I'm guessing that I didn't let mine get to 140, but I don't remember. Good luck and happy holidays!

        1. re: MMRuth

          Thanks for your reply. I was thinking that the fresh myrtle looked like bay leaves. I like your sage suggestion. I think that 140F is the standard for moist pork so I was surprised to see the 130F. Another thread on pork loin suggested taking out at 137F so I'm going to aim for around there, I think. Happy holidays to you too!

          1. re: Carb Lover

            Don't know if you saw the photos I posted couple of posts above the recipe, but I tucked some sage leaves on the top, under the butcher's twine, and it looked really pretty.

            1. re: MMRuth

              I made this for Christmas Eve. After 50 minutes, the thermometer was at 140, so I took the roast out of the oven. It was incredibly moist, though not rosy inside. Another note - the butcher had butterflied the loin by basically cutting it in half as far as I could tell, and it was still far too thick. After much useless pounding, I realized I could just butterfly it further, which did the trick.

    2. Hi Carb Lover!
      As a rule of thumb- 1/2 lb. of meat/person should suffice.

      The Zuni inspired recipe sounds great. I may just have to copy that idea, as I was looking for something to do with my pork loin as well. Thank you.

      As for the myrtle, I don't know. Doesn't seem that it can be purchased online. This link has some good info about it though:

      I would take it out at 135, as it will continue to cook as it rests. If you want it a little less cooked, 130 is a-okay too!

      Good luck & Happy Holidays!

      1 Reply
      1. re: dbug31

        Thanks, dbug31. How funny, I linked to the same site in my reply to MMRuth. From how it's described, I'm not even sure if my family would like the taste of myrtle, so if I make Batali's recipe, I'll probably just sub. w/ rosemary.

        I'm glad my Zunified version sounds good to you. I'm leaning towards that one since all the flavors sound good to me. Let me know how yours turns out, and happy holidays to you too!

      2. Have you considered the Zuni Standing Rib Roast of Pork? I reported on it at the time.

        Very festive, and very, very good.

        4 Replies
        1. re: JoanN

          Thanks for your suggestion, JoanN. I thought about pork rib roast too, but sort of discounted it b/c I've never made one before, it seems a little more complicated than boneless loin, and tends to cost more. My family does like gnawing on bones though! I didn't realize that Zuni has a recipe, so I'm going to look it over right now!

          1. re: Carb Lover

            Hey Carb Lover- I am also doing pork for my holiday dinner and was deciding between this Tylor recipe
            and this batali recipe:
            I think Im going with Tylors recipe but both look really yummy!

            Good luck!

            1. re: gastronomy

              Tyler's recipe looks pretty good, although I caution you about the timing. I notice that it says to "roast the pork loin for 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is crackled." Um, that sounds overcooked and dry to me.

              The Zuni recipe (also a pork rib roast) says it takes about 1-1.5 hrs. for a 4-lb. roast at 400F. The main thing is that the internal temp. should be around 135-140F if you want moist and juicy meat so def. use a thermometer. Tent loosely w/ foil and rest for at least 20 min. The book says the temp. will climb up to about 160F leaving you w/ cooked through but still moist meat.

              Note that you should take the uncooked roast out of the fridge to let it come closer to room temp. before cooking. Zuni suggests the internal starting temp. should be around 50F at the center of the thickest part. I've never actually seen a temp. given to start, but this is another reason why I love this book and revere Ms. Rodgers! Good luck to you too!

              1. re: Carb Lover

                Thank you for all your helpful hints- I really appreciate it and so will my family when they dont have to eat dried meat! :)