Last-minute pork roast

Last night Dan and I met up with a friend for some Ballast Point Habanero Sculpin IPA — it was delish – a great balance of hoppy floralness up front and bitey habanero heat in the finish — then stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few things on the way home. Faced with mostly-empty cupboards and a sorely understocked fridge after our trip to Vermont, I decided in the car on the way to the store to pick up a pork loin and some romaine to improvise into a dinner. Unfortunately I have no pictures for this one. Read on below to see how it all shook out!

Roasted Pork Loin with veggies

First: Preheat your oven to 350.

Second, make the marinade:

  • Maple syrup (grade A dark amber is best for this)
  • Dijon mustard
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt & fresh-ground black pepper
  • ~2 lb. pork loin

Combine what I call ‘reasonable’ amounts of each marinade ingredient and adjust to suit your tastes. I started with about 2-3 tbsp. of the Worcestershire sauce, added about a tbsp (or so) of the mustard, about 2 tbsp of the maple syrup, then enough of the vinegar to just about double the volume. Whisk it all together, add s&p to taste, and adjust flavors as needed. Rinse off your pork, place it in a large zip-top bag, then pour your marinade over it. Press most of the air out of the bag, zip it up, and set it aside.

The more time your pork has to rest in the marinade, the better. I let mine sit for about 20 minutes, flipping it over once.

Third: Prep the veggies.

  • 4-5 medium potatoes (I used butter potatoes. Yum!)
  • 1-2 small sweet onions
  • 1-2 cups baby carrots
  • As many cloves of garlic as you like
  • Canola oil
  • Kosher salt & fresh-ground black pepper

Halve the potatoes and cut each half into quarters. Do the same with the onions. Throw the potatoes, onion, garlic (whole cloves), and the carrots into the bottom of your roasting pan, then add the canola oil, salt, and black pepper and toss to coat. You can also use olive oil, but I like the canola for this because it stands up better to higher temperatures.

Fourth: Remove the pork from the bag and place it fat side up on a roasting rack in the pan, above the veggies. Pour the remaining marinade over the pork. Place the pan in the oven and set the timer for about 40 minutes. You’ll need 20-30 minutes per pound, and the internal temp should be 145°F according to the USDA. Use a digital meat thermometer to check the temp after the first 40 minutes and add 10-minute increments as needed from there until it’s done. Keep in mind, that recommended internal temp will get you a well done piece of meat, so… use your judgment. No one likes dry pork.

A side note here – the marinade and drippings would make one hell of a pan sauce. If I had anything in the house to deglaze the pan with (preferably a dry white wine and some homemade stock), I would have! I cringed when washing out the roasting pan because wasting of all that savory deliciousness seemed almost criminal.

Red leaf salad with pears, pecans, and blue cheese dressing

  • 1-2 ripe Anjou pears
  • ~1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • Garlic croutons
  • Blue cheese dressing (I used Bolthouse Farms’ yogurt blue cheese. Tasty!)
  • Red leaf lettuce, rinsed and chopped
  • Red onion, julienned (I didn’t use this, but it would be a lovely addition)

Combine the ingredients in a salad bowl but do NOT dress. Only dress the individual servings, so if you have any leftovers they’re not all soggy and gross the next day. You can also treat the pears with some lemon juice to prevent browning, if desired.

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