A lean holiday roast that doesn’t skimp on flavor

  • Wednesday, December 18, 2013

AP Photo/Matthew Mead Double pork roast with mushroom marsala sauce.

Photos

My choice for an elegant holiday dinner? Itís hard to beat a roast, and more often than not my pick is a lean and moist pork tenderloin.

But letís face it, as much as we want to be healthy, there is such a thing as roast that is too lean. A lack of fat often means a lack of flavor. So how to make up this deficit? With plenty of high-flavor ingredients, like prosciutto, fresh herbs, mushrooms and wine.

Prosciutto packs a ton of flavor, and the slight amount of fat it adds is well worth it. As for the herbs, I took a tip from the Italians, who often top off a grilled steak with fresh herbs and a drizzle of olive oil. I tested out several herbs in this recipe, both alone and in combinations. Though I was rooting for fresh sage ó a classic match with prosciutto ó my tasting panel (the family) overruled me in favor of rosemary and thyme.

Given the roastís Italian inflections, I chose a mushroom Marsala sauce to go with it. Any mushroom will work, from the most affordable white button to the quite pricey shiitake. Whichever you choose, if you need to save time you usually can usually find them sliced and ready to go at the supermarket.

If you donít have Marsala at home, you can swap in Madeira, dry sherry, white vermouth, or even white or red wine. All pair up nicely with mushrooms. And, as ever, if you donít want to use alcohol, leave it out.

In order to stuff these pork roasts, you need to butterfly them. If youíve never done this before, donít worry. You simply lay the log-shaped roast on a cutting board and, using a sharp knife, cut in from the side of the roast about halfway down. Cut almost G«Ų but not completely G«Ų through; leave about 1/2 inch of meat on the far side. You should be able to open the roast like a book.

Next, put plastic wrap on top of the roast and ó using either a meat pounder or rolling pin ó pound it to an even thickness. You can help to make sure that the meat wonít stick to the plastic and tear if you first sprinkle both sides of it with some water. And even if the meat does shred a bit, donít worry. It will knit back together as it cooks.

One of the great things about this recipe is that you can prepare and roll the roast a day ahead. You also can make the mushroom sauce in advance, then warm it up in the saute pan after youíve browned the pork roast, which allows you to take advantage of any browned bits sticking to the bottom of the pan after the roast has left the premises. This isnít just smart time management, itís good cooking; both the roast and the sauce will taste better if you prepare them a day ahead of time. And itíll free you up to prepare the rest of your holiday meal on the big day itself.

Comments

Notice about comments:

Summerville Journal Scene is pleased to offer readers the enhanced ability to comment on stories. We expect our readers to engage in lively, yet civil discourse. We do not edit user submitted statements and we cannot promise that readers will not occasionally find offensive or inaccurate comments posted in the comments area. Responsibility for the statements posted lies with the person submitting the comment, not Summerville Journal Scene.

If you find a comment that is objectionable, please click "report abuse" and we will review it for possible removal. Please be reminded, however, that in accordance with our Terms of Use and federal law, we are under no obligation to remove any third party comments posted on our website. Read our full terms and conditions.



Summerville Journal Scene

© 2014 Summerville Journal Scene an Evening Post Industries company. All Rights Reserved.

Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service, Privacy Policy and Parental Consent Form.