One of my favorite things to do after a long week is to spend a Sunday in the kitchen trying out a new recipe. It’s usually quite therapeutic, and does wonders for my overall outlook on life and work…that is unless something goes terribly wrong and I’m left scrambling to pick up the pieces in order to avoid a full-fledged culinary meltdown. My poor sweetheart, he’s stuck by me through more of these than I care to admit.
This particular Sunday wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but so much of me wanted the perfect meal to round out a not-so-perfect week. I wanted a nice full tummy so I could lay around, watch movies, and drift in and out of a nice cozy nap.
I had the best intentions starting out this recipe, but how was I to know that my trusty meat thermometer had died and my oven just wasn’t up to the task. I’ll chalk it up to the fact that we’re still feeling each other out; I think it’s that we’re not quite sure what to make of one another: I say 350-degrees, it’s thinking more like 325-degrees…maybe less, I’m still not sure. Ultimately, this was not the recipe to experiment with, and I’ll be honest here, pork is not my strong suit.
As dramatic as I’ve made this meal sound, it really wasn’t bad, it just took a few more steps and some creative thinking to get it right in the end (extra time in the oven, and a quick sear in a hot pan!). I adapted this recipe from Anne Burrell on her show Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, and while I’ll reserve my thoughts on the Food Network for now, this meal really is good, and the cabbage slaw is awesome.
Roasted pork loin
I added a veggie mirepoix and potatoes since cooked veggies are often my favorite part of a roast.
- 2 sprigs rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
- 4 sage leaves, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- Pinch crushed red pepper
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1-3 lb piece of all natural pork loin
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 6 organic yukon gold potatoes, quartered
- 6-8 small organic carrots, quartered
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 quarts organic apple cider
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Slice the onions, carrots, and potatoes and place in the bottom of a roasting pan or dutch oven. Lightly toss with a touch of olive oil and salt and pepper. Add the bay leaves and 1 cup of apple cider. Place the pork loin on top of this bed of vegetables.
Roughly chop the herbs and add to a food processor with the garlic, crushed red pepper, a generous pinch of salt and enough olive oil to make a paste. Massage the paste on the outside of the pork rib roast. Be sure to get all sides.
Place the pan in a pre-heated oven at 425 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes or until the pork has developed a lovely brown crust. Keep checking to make sure the crust is not charred. Stir the vegetables and add more cider if it looks like they are starting to burn. (As my oven was being a punk, I did not have a burning issue or a need to add any more cider.)
After you notice a nice crust or 20-25 minutes have passed, lower the oven to 375 degrees F and roast for another 30 to 35 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer reads 150 degrees F. If the crust on the pork starts to get too dark, cover it with foil.
Let the pork rest for at least 15 minutes before carving into thin slices. Serve with the vegetables braised in cider and the warm cabbage slaw (recipe below).
Warm Cabbage Slaw
- 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 slices thick cut bacon, cut into lardons
- 1 yellow onion, julienned
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 6 small organic carrots, julienned
- 1 medium head savoy cabbage, thinly sliced or shredded
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons, mustard powder
- 3 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup apple cider
Coat a large wide pot or dutch oven with olive oil. When it comes up to temperature, add the bacon and render over medium heat. (I use an uncured bacon that naturally has less fat. If you’re using regular bacon, see if you need to remove some of the excess fat before adding the onions, but be sure to leave some of the fat for flavor.) Add the onions, season with salt, and sweat for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the carrots and stir to combine. Add the cabbage, cider vinegar, mustard powder, and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper.
Note: This is a tart and vinegar-y taste, so if you’re not a fan, cut back on the vinegar. (I love vinegar!) Also, the salt and pepper, and fat from the bacon should help balance everything out.
Reduce the pot to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cabbage is very soft. Remove the lid, add the apple cider and simmer for an additional 10 minutes or until most of the vinegar has absorbed but the cabbage is still moist but not soupy.
Note: This recipe is great served right away, but can be even better after it has sat in the fridge over night. I can’t often wait that long, so I make sure I have leftovers.
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