Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cider-Roasted Pork Loin

I loves me some magazines - Real Simple, Oprah, Mary Engelbreit Home Companion, Southern Living, Cooking Light - and I've got lots of them. I hate throwing them out and to soften the blow, I go through stacks of them, tearing out relavant pieces - recipes, articles, random photos for inspiration.

That decreases the number of magazines but also increases the stacks of recipes sandwiched between cookbooks in the pie safe in the kitchen.

A few weeks ago, I went through that stack of recipes torn from magazines. It was probably three inches thick. I culled and sorted, throwing away many recipes that either didn't sound good anymore or that I knew I would never make. (I have an idealistic version of Kitchen Keetha and she spends hours each weeknight in the kitchen crafting delicious and nutritious meals. She grocery shops and has a spreadsheet listing all the ingredients in her kitchen, never runs out of anything, and always has fresh herbs and rarely used condiments on hand. She was the one who saved those ambitious recipes.)

Out of that stack, I set aside a handful of recipes that I would try this fall. One of those was Cider-Roasted Pork Loin. Doesn't that sound so autumney?

After brining overnight, the tenderloin had to roast for something like an hour, which is really too long for weeknight cooking but anyway. As the tenderloin cooked it smelled divine but I was having doubts. WHAT IF this was only so so and we were all starving and I'd been thinking for ages how good it sounded, etc.

But this recipe was great. The tenderloin was juicy and flavorful. The apple cider gave it a hint of sweetness but not maple syrup sweet. It was really good. We're already planning to serve it at a holiday gathering, where we'll have it with yeast rolls and sweet potato butter.

3 cups water
3 cups apple cider
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoons coriander seeds (Note - we left these out because I didn't have any on hand.)
1 bay leaf
1 (2-pound) boneless pork loin (we used one tenderloin and halved all the ingredients)
2 cups apple cider
Cooking spray
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage (I used dried sage. If there's one thing I'm certain of, it's that our local grocer does not have any fresh sage. It doesn't have any fresh parsley.)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring until salt dissolves. Remove from heat; cool. Pour brine into a 2-gallon zip-top plastic bag. Add pork; seal. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight, turning bag occasionally.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Bring 2 cups cider to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until cider has thickened and reduced to 1/4 cup (about 15 minutes). Set aside.

Remove pork from bag; discard brine. Place pork on rack of a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Lightly coat pork with cooking spray. Combine rosemary, sage, and black pepper; sprinkle evenly over pork. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until thermometer registers 155°, basting twice with cider reduction during final 20 minutes of cooking. Remove from oven; baste with remaining cider reduction. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.


Erin said...

Ooh! That sounds divine!

Joh said...

Um. Nice mind-meld on the porky goodness. Also, yours sounds way better than mine and I haven't even gotten to the part in the recipe where you cook it yet.
I'm going to try this before cider season runs out. Mark my words.
Also, if you're in the market for a recipe organizer, "MacGourmet" which is like iTunes for your recipes, is the bomb. But you might not be a Mac user. In which case, we're no longer friends. (joke).