Archive for the ‘Pork’ Category

Boneless… Yet Dry As a Bone

September 23, 2012

Pork scares me. I don’t like to cook it. It never turns out right. Any time I have made pork loin before it was dry and inedible, even with a pile of sauce on it. Other times, I under cook meat for fear of it drying out. I leave pork to the experts and enjoy roast sandwiches, pulled pork BBQ, and ribs when I go out to eat.

Recently I inventoried my freezer in an attempt to use up the many sauces, leftovers, and concoctions that filled it. Two things I found gave me the courage to try the dreaded pork loin again: apple cider concentrate and cabbage. (Yes, I froze a quarter of a cabbage. There’s only so much of it one person can eat in a week.)

After a few words of encouragement from some pork-cooking friends and a lovely cut from a grocery store, I did some research. The clock was ticking on the meat in the fridge and I had a free morning to spend cooking and potentially salvaging a roast. I got out my standards: Joy of Cooking, Julia and Jacques, Grilling, and started taking notes.

Roast Pork Loin

Roast pork loin with onion.

That, my friend, is the picture of success. I culled tips and techniques from the cookbooks but followed my own instinct and fortunately, it was spot on. Finally, after 6 years of vegetarianism and 6 years of eating and cooking meat again, I have retrained myself to cook meat properly (I owe a lot of thanks to my themometer!).

Apple Cider Pork Loin

created by Sarah Johnson

Ingredients

  • small pork loin
  • 1-2T thyme
  • 1t salt
  • 1-2t pepper
  • 1-3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2t mustard seed
  • 1T cumin seed
  • ½c apple cider concentrate
  • ½t tabasco sauce
  • small onion
  1. Mix the herbs together to make a dry rub for the pork (thyme, salt, pepper, garlic, mustard seeds, cumin).
  2. Coat the pork loin with the dry rub, wrap or cover and let sit for at least an hour or overnight.
  3. Mix the apple cider and tabasco. If using concentrate, thin it out 1:1. If using regular cider, add 1T brown sugar.
  4. Slice the onion into rounds and place on the bottom of the baking dish.
  5. Place the pork on top of the onions.
  6. Pour the cider mixture into the pan.
  7. Bake for about 90 minutes at 350F until the internal temperature is at least 150F (it will still be a bit pink).
  8. Baste! This is the most important part of keeping the meat from being dry. After the first 30min I baste about every 15min. I also check the temperature each time I baste which is a great way to keep from overcooking the meat.

Notes and Variations

This is a simple recipe. The beauty of pork and many other meats is that they are a blank canvas for you to use your favorite palette of tastes. I used this relatively standard seasoning mixture but any blend will do. The simplest way to make this recipe is with herbs de Provence. Since this frequently comes in a jar, the steps are open jar, rub seasoning on meat, bake.

One other important note about this recipe is that it was inspired by turkey. My go-to Thanksgiving recipe for turkey is courtesy of Jacques Pépin. The basting liquid in this recipe uses apple cider with a touch of tabasco sauce. I like the way it tastes so sweet with just a touch of spice that you can’t quite figure out. It seemed like an appropriate flavor for bland pork and I believe I was correct!

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