Life has been a whirlwind of activity lately and though I thought the Autumn would usher in some major relaxation time, it is already November and we are still charging full speed into the holiday season. However, this does not mean that we do not slow down to enjoy a slow roasted, aromatic pork roast with spicy fresh sage leaves, bright lemon zest, and savory-sweet garlic.
My favorite cut of pork to roast is the pork loin. It is a very lean and flavorful roast that comes from the back of the pig. A great butcher will sell this roast with the rib bones attached and a decent fat cap left on the roast. This fat cap melts away during roasting, self-basting the roast. A good market will sell the pork loin roast boneless, with a ½” fat cap, and without any sodium solutions injected into the roast to promote juiciness. In my humble culinary opinion, these solutions make the pork roast salty and turn the texture of the meat mushy. Allowing the roast to slowly will keep it juicy and tender. Make sure to check the label to avoid and additives.
Another great thing about the pork loin roast is that it is one single muscle of equal thickness, which makes for even roasting and great presentation. It is also easy to stuff this roast or butterfly and layer the inside of the roast with herbs. Speaking of herbs, choose hearty or sturdy fresh or dried herbs to season the roast. The slow roasting method will burn delicate herbs. I am using sage here; but rosemary and thyme also work well with pork.
My Recipe: SAGE AND LEMON PORK LOIN ROAST w WHITE WINE PAN GRAVY
1 – 4# pork loin roast
1 bunch fresh sage, leaves removed from stems, reserve stems
1 lemon, zest and cut into 4 thick slices
6 garlic cloves, finely minced
6 whole garlic cloves
2 whole carrots, peeled
2 whole shallots, cut in half
2 bay leaves
2 T Dijon mustard
1 T kosher salt
½ T fresh cracked black pepper
2 T all-purpose flour
1 c white wine
2 c chicken stock or water
Preheat oven to 350-degrees
Rinse the pork roast and pat dry; with a very sharp knife, score a diamond pattern through the fat cap on the top of the roast; a horizontal cut through the side of the roast to butterfly the roast; layer the inside of the roast with sage leaves, finely minced garlic, and the lemon zest; season with 1t kosher salt and 1/2t cracked black pepper
Fold pork roast back together; using kitchen twine, secure the roast in 2” intervals
Add the carrot, shallots, remaining whole garlic cloves, lemon slices, bay leaves, and sage stems to the bottom of the roast pan; add a roasting rack over them and lay stuffed roast on top of rack
Rub the entire roast with Dijon mustard, making sure to push the mustard into the scored fat; season with the remaining kosher salt and cracked black pepper
Roast pork for 45 – 50 minutes; until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the roast registers to 140-degrees; remove pan from the oven
Remove roast from pan; set aside; tent with foil to keep warm; the roast will continue to cook from the carry-over heat and the juices will redistribute themselves making the fully cooked roast very juicy
Remove roasting rack; remove all but 2 T fat from the bottom of the roasting pan
Set roasting pan on top of the stove over medium high heat; add white wine to deglaze the pan and loosen the browned roasted vegetables on the bottom of the roasting pan; reduce liquid by half
Sprinkle flour in pan and stir to combine; add chicken stock; bring to a boil; and simmer for 4 – 5 minutes, until pan sauce has thickens slightly
Strain sauce through a fine mesh strainer; discard solids; adjust seasoning on pan sauce and serve with pork roast
For the ultimate comfort, pair this pork roast with creamy mashed potatoes. Yummy! For a dinner party, I served this roast with sautéed Swiss Chard as the entrée and started the meal with a Potato and Leek Soup. If life does not slow down soon, this meal could very well return as my Christmas dinner – throw in a dessert and a bottle of wine. Lucky for me it really is holiday worthy.
always in good T.A.S.T.E – cause you gottatastethis!