As we’re coming up to Thanksgiving in this very strange year, I know a lot of people who are celebrating differently. In our house, that means just the two of us. With only two people eating it can seem like a lot of excess work and food to do up a full Thanksgiving meal. So this week, I’ve decided to share some really great menu options for having a lovely and special meal for only two people. While still enjoying the food, and of course, having leftovers. I’ve got a whole menu planned out with easy and delicious recipes. So far we’ve got a Simple Charcuterie Board for Two, a Kale & Pumpkin Salad, some Rosemary Roasted Potatoes, and a Baked Sausage Stuffing. And Finally, for the main dish, we have a Stuffed Pork Loin.Jump to Recipe
Why Not Turkey?
The short answer is that finding a turkey small enough for two people is impossible. And turkey parts don’t usually become available until after the holiday. More than that though, I like changing things up for the big holiday meals. A lot of foods are in season at this time of year, since it’s literally harvest season. So if we’re going to be thankful to all our farmers who feed us through the year, why not spread the love to different types of farmers sometimes.
Butterflying The Pork
The other posts through the week were pretty straightforward, and I tried to shout out as many growers as I could. But today I thought it was more important to walk you through butterflying the pork loin. Since that might not be something folks are familiar with. The most important thing you want for this is a sharp knife, preferably a boning knife. Not only will a sharp blade make it easier, but cuts from a dull blade are a lot more painful and messy. The sharper your knife, the less you cry.
Start by securing your cutting board. Wet a piece of paper towel or a tea towel. Squeeze it out, and place it underneath your cutting board. This prevents the board from slipping. Make sure your space is well lit. Lay the pork loin out in front of you.
You will be essentially unrolling the meat, so that you can roll it back up like a rug. Make your first cut along the long edge of the loin, close to the bottom.
All your cuts should be small shallow cuts to maintain accuracy, and extend down the whole long edge.
With the flat side of your knife parallel to the cutting board, continue cutting, in small shallow cuts into the loin, so that it opens like a book. Don’t cut all the way through.
You will end up with something like this. (below)
Now begin the next set of cuts by continuing on the same path you were on, and “opening” out the final thick piece.
Your result should look like you just opened a three fold pork pamphlet. I know, weird thing to say, but come on. That’s what it looks like!
Next you want to cover the pork in a layer of plastic wrap, and pound it out. Not really to make it super flat, but to even out the piece, and try to make it all the same width. Now you’re ready to fill it. The recipe below has all the instructions on how to make the filling. But I’ll continue here with visual filling, rolling, and tying instructions.
The first step to filling the roll is seasoning. Sprinkle the inside all over with salt and pepper, then add the herbs.
Then layer in the othe filling ingredients, leaving a small border around the outside edge of the pork, and a slightly larger empty space at one of the short ends(this will be the end of the roll). This allows the filling to spread out without falling out when you roll it.
Then starting from the “not end” short side, roll it up!
Wrapping the pork in prosciutto does a few things. First, it helps the roll stay together and hold it’s log shape. It seasons the outside, and it also imparts some of its fat to help keep the pork nice and juicy. I used 10 pieces of prosciutto all together to wrap this little roast. Lay out some prosciutto end to end lengthwise on a cutting board. Do a test to see if they will reach all the way around your roll before setting up the rest. Then, lay out enough prosciutto to cover the roll end to end. Add two pieces sticking off the middle on either side, to cover the ends of the roll.
Lay the roll in the center of the prosciutto.
Fold up the end pieces over the roll.
One side at a time, wrap up the roll all snug.
Tying the Roll
Cut a long piece of kitchen twine (better to have it be too long so go for a couple feet). Tie it snuggly around one end of the roll. This is your starting point.
I found the next part a bit hard to explain, so here’s a video of tying the next part.
Now that you’re at the end, flip the roll over and run the end up our twine underneath along the bottom.
Pull it up the far side and tie it to your starting point.
And there you have it a nice snug rolled pork loin, ready to sear and cook!
I hope you enjoyed this Thanksgiving for Two Menu! If you end up making any of the recipes, I’d love to see your creations, so please share them with me on Instagram!
Stuffed Pork Loin
- Kitchen Twine
- 750 g Boneless Pork Loin
- 1/4 cup Tart Apple Finely chopped
- 1/4 cup Sweet Onion Finely chopped
- 1/4 cup Chopped Walnuts
- 1/4 cup Dried Apricots Finely Chopped
- 1 tsp each Thyme & Rosemary Leaves picked, and chopped
- 1/2 tsp each Salt & Pepper
- 10 pcs Prosciutto
Cider Pan Gravy
- 1 French Shallot
- 1 clove Garlic Finely Diced
- 3/4 cup Hard Cider
- 1 1/2 cup Chicken Stock
- 1/3 cup Cold Butter cut into 1/2" cubes
- 1/2 tsp Pepper
- Heat the oven to 375F. Butterfly the pork loin by following the directions in the post above.
- Dice and prepare the apple, sweet onion, walnuts, apricots and herbs.
- Fill and roll the pork loin, again, following the directions in the post above.
- Lay out the 10 pieces of prosciutto on a cutting board. 6 pieces to cover the pork around the long side, and 4 pieces to wrap up the ends. Wrap up the pork and tie with kitchen twine. There's a video of tying the loin in the post above.
- Heat a glug of oil in a heavy skillet, over medium heat. Sear the pork loin for about a minute on each side, to get it golden brown all over.
- Transfer the pork loin to a small baking dish. Set aside the pan you seared it in, you'll use this pan to make your sauce, with all the yummy seared pork bits.
- Cover the loin with foil and roast for about an hour. If you have a meat thermometer, check for an internal temperature of at least 165F. For me this took 1 hour and 10 minutes. Once it's done, remove from the oven, leave the foil cover on, and set aside to rest for 15 minutes.
Cider Pan Gravy
- About 20 minutes before the pork is done, start your gravy.
- Heat the pan that you used to sear the pork over medium heat, with a glug of olive oil.
- Add the shallots and garlic. Stir for 1-2 minutes, until soft and fragrant. Deglaze with the cider, and scrape up all the porky bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the stock and bring up to a strong simmer.
- Simmer for about 15-20 minutes. You don't want to reduce it too much. Only by about 1/3. Then reduce the heat to low.
- Start adding in cubes of cold butter, 2-3 cubes at a time. Whisk in the cubes continuously and once 2-3 cubes fully incorporate, add another 2-3 cubes. Keep the whisking going and keep adding the butter, until it's all incorporated. Continue to whisk for another 2-4 minutes, the sauce will become velvety and smooth, and slightly paler in colour. Remove from the heat, but keep warm until serving. If it begin to separate, warm it again and re-whisk it.
- Serve the pork with the sauce, along with side dishes.