Maple Pecan Pork Roulade

I love Thanksgiving day dinner with all the fixings, but I can only eat so much turkey in one week. If that is the case with you too then today's recipe is a great alternative to cooking a huge turkey and it doesn't take nearly as long to roast. This recipe yields enough to serve eight people so it won't leave you with a lot of leftovers if you're only serving a small party.

To be honest, I have never made a roulade before. I usually post recipes that I am familiar with, but a few months back the hubster had a recipe request and he asked me to make a roulade in time for Thanksgiving. So, me being me and working with deadlines, I would put this off until just the week before. So here is my long delayed pork roulade. I didn't expect it to come out half as well, but it tastes amazing. The hubster loved it and said I should open a restaurant serving this and my spicy pork ribs. That's a little much, but if he puts is alongside his favorite dish of all time then it's a definite win for sure.

It's the perfect balance between sweet and savory with a delightful crunch from the pecans. Serve it with some homemade dinner rolls from last week's post, a side of mashed potatoes and roasted veggies and you're all set. 

Maple Pecan Pork Roulade

Yield: serves 8


Ingredients:

For the roulade:

one 4 lb. half pork loin
3 oz. dried cured pancetta, thinly sliced
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and water squeezed out
1 ½ cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans
salt and pepper to taste


For the gravy:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 ¾ cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
salt and pepper to taste
100% Vermont maple syrup
crushed pecans


Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Butterfly the pork loin by cutting it lengthwise with a sharp knife (being careful to not cut it all the way through). Make a score on the two halves. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the pork loin and pound it with a meat mallet until it is about a half inch thick. Season both sides with salt and pepper to your taste. Place the slices of pancetta all over the cut side of the pork loin. Place the spinach on top of the pancetta and season lightly with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the parmesan over the the spinach.

Tightly roll the pork loin like a roulade. Tie the roulade with 4 pieces of kitchen twine, about 3 inches apart. Place roulade in prepared baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the roulade reads an internal temperature of 160 degrees F on a meat thermometer.

Once roulade reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F, remove it from the oven and cover it loosely with aluminum foil. In the meantime, prepare the maple gravy.

In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, melt butter and whisk in flour until it is smooth and not clumpy. Let flour cook for one minute, whisking constantly. Pour in chicken stock and let cook until gravy thickens; whisking constantly. Add in thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in maple syrup and whisk until the gravy thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.

Remove the kitchen twine and cut the roulade into 16 thin slices. Place it on a platter and ladle some of the maple gravy over it. Top it with some crushed pecans and serve.

Enjoy!