Pork Loin Holiday Roast

Christmas, my favorite time of year, is just around the corner. I smile thinking about everything the holiday entails… the tree, the decorations and sharing the spirit of the season with loved ones.  Ahhh, I just love it all!  This year we have family from Boston and Athens visiting and we couldn’t be happier.  So, I thought I would test one of my main dishes a few weeks in advance, Pork Loin Roast.  Just thinking about this recipe gets me drooling. On the advice of my friend (and very talented cook) Michael, I brined the pork, dried it then coated it with an olive oil spice rub. The end result was so juicy and full of flavor, I would not skip a step when preparing this again.  It was seriously good!

Ideally you want to start the day before with the brine. Gather your herbs and spices, cloves, juniper berries, sugar, salt, bay leaves and rosemary (mine was fresh from the garden!)

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In a saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil, then reduce the fire to low. Add the herbs and spices and stir. Let this mix simmer on low for not more than 5 minutes. The idea here is to just bring out the flavor of your spices. Pour the liquid in a bowl big enough to fit the liquid and the pork. Keep in mind the meat has to be completely covered with the brine. Add the ice cubes and 3 more cold cups of water. Stir.

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The temperature of the brine has to cool to room temp or colder.

Then add one apple, juice of one orange and an onion. The fruity flavors will make the pork more aromatic and balance really well with the spices. Place the pork in the bowl and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or ideally overnight.

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If you are thinking it’s a hassle, give it a try and you ‘ll see. The prep of the brine takes 10 minutes altogether, then you just let the pork sit in the fridge overnight and it soaks up all of the deliciousness.

Moving along to the next step, make the olive oil rub. Just mix together olive oil, salt and pepper, rosemary, thyme, sugar and garlic.

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Take the pork out of the fridge and place it on a rack fat side up. Pat dry with kitchen towels and score it.

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Don’t discard the brine just yet.  Cover the meat with the olive oil rub and give it a good massage for a few minutes. On the bottom of the roasting pan, drizzle some olive oil. Take the spices, herbs and fruits from the brine and scatter them in the pan.

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Place the rack in the tray and into a preheated oven for about 2 hours. Roast for the first 30 minutes at 220 C/430 F and the remainder of the time at 180 C/ 350 F. For the last 5 minutes  move the roasting pan higher up in the oven to brown the roast. Check often so it doesn’t over brown (burn).

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Let the roast sit for 30 mins before slicing.  Serve with roasted vegetables or mash.

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Optional: if you want to make a gravy from the drippings, put the tray on the stove. Take out the apples and onions and set them aside. Filter the drippings through a sieve. Make sure you discard all the remaining solids (spices, bay leaves, berries etc). Put half of the liquid with apples and onions in a blender and blend well. Because there is a nice layer of fat on top of our meat, the gravy will be quite fatty. That’s why I use only half of it. The other half freezes very well and you can use it later in the week to dress up those roasted veggies or mashed potatoes. Put the blended mix in a saucepan plus 3 cups of water and let it simmer. Thicken with 2-3 tsps of corn flour. One spoonful at a time, always dissolved in a few spoonfuls of water. If the gravy is too thin add a bit more corn flour.

Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1800 g (4 lbs) of pork loin

 

Brine

  • 5 cups of cold water and 1 cup of ice cubes
  • 1 tsp juniper berries
  • 1/2 tsp whole cloves
  • 3 tbsp of sugar
  • 4 tbsp of salt
  • 1 small sprig of rosemary, torn
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 apple, cut in big pieces
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 1 onion quartered

 

Olive Oil Rub

  • 4-5 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 small sprig of rosemary, torn
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped

 

Gravy (optional)

  • from the pan: half of the drippings, apple and onion (discard all the spices and herbs)
  • 2-3 tsps corn flour plus 4-5 tbsp of water for dissolving
  • 3 cups of water

 

 

DIRECTIONS

For the meat brining start the day before.Get your herbs and spices, cloves, juniper berries, sugar, salt, bay leaves and rosemary.

In a saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil, then reduce the fire to low. Add the herbs and spices and stir. Let this mix simmer on low for not more than 5 minutes.

Pour the liquid in a bowl big enough to fit the liquid and the pork.  Add the ice cubes and 3 more cold cups of water. Stir. The brine has to be room temp cool or colder. Add one apple, juice of one orange and an onion. Place the pork in the bowl and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or ideally overnight.

Now make the olive oil rub. Just mix together olive oil, salt and pepper, rosemary, thyme, sugar and garlic.

Take the pork out of the fridge and place it on a rack fat side up. Pat dry with kitchen towels and score it.

Don’t discard the brine.  Cover the meat with the olive oil rub and massage it for a few minutes. On the bottom of the roasting pan, drizzle some olive oil. Take the spices, herbs and fruits from the brine and scatter them in the pan.

Place the rack in the tray and into a preheated oven for about 2 hours. Roast for the first 30 minutes at 220 C/430 F and the remainder of the time at 180 C/ 350 F. For the last 5 minutes  move the roasting pan higher up in the oven to brown the roast. Check often so it doesn’t over brown (burn).

 

Let the roast sit for 30 mins before slicing.  Serve with roasted vegetables or mash.

 

Optional: if you want to make a gravy from the drippings, put the tray on the stove. Take out the apples and onions and set them aside. Filter the drippings through a sieve. Make sure you discard all the remaining solids (spices, bay leaves, berries etc). Put half of the liquid with apples and onions in a blender and blend well. Put the blended mix in a saucepan plus 3 cups of water and let it simmer. Thicken with 2-3 tsps of corn flour. One spoonful at a time, always dissolved in a few spoonfuls of water. If the gravy is too thin add a bit more corn flour.

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2 Comments on "Pork Loin Holiday Roast"

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Sofia tsaini
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Suuuuuuuuuuper!!!!!!! So delicious….way to go!! Really easy,too! Delicious and easy to prepare…what a great combination!!