Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My First Pork Roast

I do like pork loin, but still.
So I understand there is a rule that you aren't supposed to make something the first time for a party, but we've already established how bad I am at following directions. So for my sister's birthday dinner, I decided to make a pork roast. This was not just my first time making a roast of any kind, but one of my first times eating a pork roast. My mom doesn't love pork, so it rarely featured on our dinner table growing up.

This recipe was followed pretty closely from the Everyday Cooking Light cookbook. I've had good luck with the recipes in this book, and since I have never made something like this before I wanted to follow the directions to get it right.

2 tsp olive oil
3 lbs boneless pork loin tied at 1 inch intervals
1 tsp ground coriander 
salt and pepper
1 lbs small onions (cipollini, white onion, and a shallot is what I used)
2/3 cup white wine
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 tsp fennel seeds
orange zest
1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots
1 tsp red wine vinegar

 Unfortunately, I was trying to get this ready on a tight schedule so it would be finished for the party, so I neglected to take as many pictures as I usually do. But it is a pretty simple recipe--not too many ingredients or steps!

The roast is seasoned with ground coriander, salt and pepper, and tied with string. Youtube helped me with the tying--the trick is to do one long string and loop and twist. The roast is browned on all sides in my dutch oven which was heated to medium high--I even propped it up to get the ends. The seared roast went onto a plate while I tossed the shallots, cipolini onion, and white onion in the pan cooked them until they were brown.

After the onions had taken on the lovely brown color, picking up the bits from the bottom of the pan, I added the roast back, and sprinkled the chopped apricots, fennel and orange zest around and poured on the broth and wine. The lid went on the roast and into the oven it went. I had borrowed a meat thermometer, but it didn't seem to want to go over 100 degrees. Fortunately the roast was not underdone--maybe a little over since I kept cooking it, but my brother in law said it was right.

Now I read the directions from the book--there is a last stage I missed--the vinegar needed to be added and the sauce thickened. It was pretty hectic getting this on the table--since I was cooking it at my house and serving it at my sister's next door.

The Verdict: I am really coming around to fruit in my meat dishes, the pork was sweet and tender, and the apricots were not overpowering at all. The onions were SO good--I used the leftovers in my eggs the next morning. I usually like more assertive flavors, so I might amp up some of the rub, or do a dry rub earlier in the day, or remembering to add the vinegar would help. The good news is I bought my own meat thermometer. I served this with a butternut squash risotto, and sauteed broccoli.

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