Pork roast is one of those dishes that will probably take me YEARS to perfect. The first time I made a pork roast was (again) back in DC (where most of my culinary firsts occurred… you can read more about that adventure at my old blog). To my recollection.. it ended up dry. Probably a result of sitting in the oven for too long. As it would turn out, most of the time the pork roast comes out dry or not cooked enough… where it goes back into the oven and then comes out dry. Same with pork chops most of the time. Pork just seems to be difficult to cook unless you’re braising or.. braising?
Tried my hand again at a pork roast for Sunday night dinner, since I was craving pork, and I think it turned out pretty good. I used a basic pork roast recipe from Mark Bittman‘s How to Cook Everything, but had to double it since the smallest pork loin roast at the store was over 4 pounds. The roast came with one of those pop tabs that’s supposed to pop out when the roast is done, but apparently it didn’t work.. because the roast was done, and the pop tab was not popped. Luckily for me, the roast had just barely passed 165°F, which is more than I wanted, but still not too well-done.
The roast was a tad on the dry side, but the pear sauce I made from the drippings helped remedy that. And the meal was served with a side of herb roasted new potatoes. Should have added some green vegetables in there somewhere for some color, but we didn’t have anything on hand.
Recipe: Rosemary and Garlic Roasted Pork Loin with Pear Sauce
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything
1 boneless pork loin roast (4-ish pounds), tied
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons minced garlic
salt and pepper
1 quart (ish) chicken stock or dry white wine or both
2 tablepoons butter
4 pears (d’anjou or bartlett or your preference), peeled, cored and sliced (not too thin)
- Preheat the oven to 450°F with the rack a little below center
- Since the roast is already tied, you’ve got the first step done. If it’s not tied, you’ll need to tie it up into a little log with some kitchen twine.
- Season the roast with salt and pepper (liberally).
- In a small bowl, mix the rosemary, cayenne, sugar and garlic. Generously rub all over your roast (give it a good massage to make sure it all sticks).
- Place your seasoned roast on a rack in your roasting pan and stick it in the oven. Roast undisturbed for 20 minutes (so it gets a good brown crust).
- After 20ish minutes, pour about 1/2 cup of chicken stock or wine over your roast (be careful, because it will sizzle A LOT) and turn the oven temp down to 325°F.
- Continue to roast and baste with wine/stock every 15ish minutes until the roast is done (internal temperature has reached 160°F).
- Once the roast is cooked through, remove to a warmed plate and tent with foil.
- Place your roasting pan over two burners (or one if it doesn’t fit over two) and pour about 1/2 cup of chicken stock into the pan. Using a wooden spoon, deglaze the pan, scraping up any stuck brown bits of goodness from the bottom. Pour the drippings and deglazing-goodness into a medium deep-walled pan or pot (big enough to hold your sliced pears comfortably).
- Simmer over medium heat until the liquid has reduced a bit. Add butter until melted.
- Add sliced pears to the pan and stir to coat the pears with the liquid. Simmer over med-low heat until pears have softened.
- Slice the roast and serve with pear sauce.
The entire recipe took about an hour and a half to prepare, but should reallytake a little less if I weren’t waiting for that danged pop-up button. I did the prep for the pears and potatoes while the pork was in the oven. Oh.. and to add to my weekend battle scars, I burned myself while taking the roast out of the oven to baste. My right hand just barely touched some metal at the top of my oven, and left a nice 1″-long burn. Mom covered it with fresh aloe and told me to leave it overnight. It doesn’t hurt, but will leave a nice scar … which will be the second burn scar on my right hand to remind me to be more careful when pulling things out of the oven.