A rare Kitchenista original!
You may say to yourself, wait, hasn’t she made something like this before? And yes, I have – matambre is a roulade as well. Roulade (from the French word “rouler”) just means “to roll” and can apply to anything from a jelly roll to sushi. In this case, it’s a butterflied slab of pork loin slathered in a paste made of Italian parsley, a bulb of roasted garlic and lemon juice, seared and chucked in the oven. Couldn’t be easier. Let me show you.
You will need:
1-2lb pork loin
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 c white wine, chicken broth or water
A bulb of garlic, roasted
A small lemon, cut in half
A bunch of Italian (or flatleaf) parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
If you’ve never butterflied meat before, I strongly encourage you to look up a Youtube video. I will try to explain it here but I think it’s one of those things best viewed and I should know since my matambre butterflying was just a disaster. It was actually kind of catastrophic, but we all have to learn somewhere, right?
Go ahead and roast up your garlic, if you so desire. I served this with roasted potatoes so I just oiled up the bulb with the potatoes and roasted it for about 40 minutes at 425F. If you don’t want to roasted, I recommend slicing it very thin or mincing well. With either method, once you’ve prepared your garlic the way you choose you’re going to smash it together with a pinch of kosher salt, the juice of half a small lemon, and as much chopped parsley as you would like. I started with a fork but finished with a pestle, and that was with roasted so those of you using unroasted garlic may want to do the same – just add a teaspoon or so of olive oil to help bind it all together.
Grab your hunk of pork loin and lay it on a sturdy cutting surface, long side facing you. You’ll want a very sharp knife for this, so use the best one you’ve got. Make a vertical slice halfway through the thickness of the meat. Lift the edge of one side of the cut up enough to angle your knife and slice through horizontally to make an even plane of the meat, then repeat on the other side. Think of it like opening a cardboard box, first one flap, then the other. You should have a relatively even surface of meat now. If you see any obvious thicker sections, feel free to pound it out with your meat mallet.
Haha, beat your meat. Please excuse me, I’m obviously 10 years old. MOVING ON. Here’s a little photographic help to show you what it should look like:
Make small slits with a sharp paring knife here and there on the surface of the meat, then spread your garlic mixture on top. Try to cover the whole surface as evenly as you can, but don’t sweat it if you’ve got bare spots. Finish with a little black pepper, then turn the meat so that the short side is facing you.
If you can do the fancy butcher knots with a single strand of twine, bully for you. I am very bad at it and so I cut 4 equal lengths of twine and set them aside. You can start at either the top or the bottom, but roll the meat up, gently but firmly. Lift up and place your twine underneath at about 2” intervals, and tie tightly.
I would insert another picture here but – and I know, I KNOW, this is completely and remarkably immature of me but I can’t post it. It would get me censored. It’s so phallic it might as well be pornography. So, if your pork loin tied up looks like it could MAYBE be something else, something attached to the human body, you know you did it right.
I have no dignity. I apologize. Let’s get back to the food, shall we?
Preheat the oven to 350F. Heat a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and allow to get hot enough to shimmer but not smoke. Add the pork loin and sear on all sides, about 3-5 minutes per side or until browned. If your skillet is not oven-safe, put your pork in a roasting pan, add a quarter cup of chicken broth/wine/water, and cover tightly with aluminum foil. If you’re using a dutch oven, add a quarter cup of chicken broth/wine/water, cover the loin itself inside the vessel loosely with aluminum foil, then cover with the lid and into the oven it goes for about 25-30 minutes. Check it after 20 minutes – pork dries out quickly and this cut doesn’t have a lot of fat to keep it moist, so once that center hits about 145F on an instant-read thermometer you’ll want to take it out and let it rest for 10 minutes or so, the temperature will continue to rise and should peak at no more than 155F*.
From here, cut the twine, slice into your desired thickness and serve. If you used wine or broth, you’d have the makings of a nice pan sauce, too! Roulades are great, there’s no end, really, to what you can add as the filling. Traditional German rouladen has pickles, Italy’s braciole is breaded and has cheese. Set your creativity free!
(* – the USDA says the appropriate internal temperature for well-done pork is 170. Pork frequently disagrees with this by turning into something like a mouthful of pig-flavored sand. You don’t want to eat it raw, but I think – and so does Mark Bittman – that a little pink is OK. 150 is the perfect happy medium for me.)