I swear there's no better way to cook a pork loin roast than by brining it first. The extra step of soaking overnight in a salt water and spice solution makes for an incredibly moist and tender cut of meat every time. The key is to rinse it well after brining and soak it for a few hours in fresh water, changing the water 2 or 3 times before it hits the oven.
The result is a meat lover's paradise although in our house the meat almost took second fiddle to the accompanying compote. Twenty-four cloves of garlic - yup you read right, cooked till golden brown in butter and joined by port, vinegar and sugar along with plump raisins and tender little pearl onions make for an amazing side dish. I mean really, who needs gravy when you've got a port au jus. This is one case where the Big Guy and yours truly may be fighting over the leftovers.
1 – 4 pound center cut pork loin roast
8 cups water
1/2 cup coarse salt (I used kosher)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
Place water, salt, sugar, fennel, coriander, peppercorns and bay leaves in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar and salt. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Place roast into a large container and pour cooled brine over it. Place a plate or weight on top of the roast to keep it submerged. Cover well and refrigerate overnight.
Remove loin from brine and rinse under cold running water. Cover with fresh water and soak for 2 hours at room temperature, changing the water 2 or 3 times during that period of time. Remove roast from fresh water. Pat dry. If you wish, tie roast with string so it keeps its shape while roasting. Preheat oven to 350.
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
Handful of fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
Coarse ground black pepper
Season roast with black pepper. Sprinkle with dried marjoram and place fresh herbs on top. Roast until thermometer registers 150 – approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes. Remove to cutting board and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Makes 8 servings.
1/4 cup butter
24 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
1 bay leaf
1-1/2 cups tawny port
1/4 cup white vinegar
4 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins
1 pound frozen pearl onions, thawed
1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
Coarse ground black pepper
Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly until garlic is golden brown – about 5 minutes. Add bay leaf, port, vinegar, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes. Add raisins and pearl onions. Simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes or until onions are tender. Remove from heat and stir in fresh thyme. Season with pepper. Serve warm.
A year ago - Liver and Onions with Bacon