Tonight, we’re making a pork loin roast for Christmas dinner – using one of our old favorite recipes but tweaked just a bit for this year’s event. (Isn’t recipe tweaking what fun cooking is all about?)
We’re trying dry brining the pork loin for a few hours in advance of cooking. The advocates of dry brining suggest that a day or so is the ideal timing for it – but I didn’t decide to try it until just a few hours before we need to serve dinner! So, it will be an abbreviated version.
To do the dry brining, I covered the pork loin (a 3.3 lb roast this year) with salt and put it into the refrigerator uncovered. When it’s time to cook, I’ll rinse the salt off the roast and then season it with salt, pepper and Penzey’s Bavarian Seasoning. From there, it’s back to our original recipe!
This pork loin roast turned out REALLY GREAT! Even though the dry brining was abbreviated, the roast came out great – moist, not dry at all – and a perfect compliment to the apple/cream/mustard topping. To add a bit more complexity to the topping, I also included a couple of rosemary springs and a layer of sliced red onion. This combination added beautiful flavor and complexity to the topping.
We’ve cooked this recipe many times over the years – although not much if ever during 2012. Today’s treatment makes us want to come back to it again soon. Try it for your family – it’s a huge favorite with ours!
This afternoon, we’re hosting our extended family for Christmas Eve. We’ll be serving a Niman Ranch uncured smoked ham along with broccoli, garlic mashed potatoes, and other goodies.
For wine, we’ll be trying a couple of whites that come highly recommended: Eroica’s 2010 Riesling from Washington state and a Sauvignon Blanc from J. For the red wine, we’ve got a couple of great Pinot Noirs from the Duckhorn Wine Company – a Migration Anderson Valley and Decoy Sonoma County.
Hope you’re having a wonderful Christmas weekend 2011 wherever you may be!
Today, for our Christmas dinner 2009, we’ll be cooking a 14-lb Diestel turkey that we’ve dry-brined this week using this recipe from an article in the Los Angeles Times. Dry brining requires thinking ahead – like three days ahead when the turkey needs to be salted and tucked away in the back of the refrigerator.
We’ll be cooking the bird today using our high-heat upside down roast turkey recipe, a family favorite that produces wonderful results.
Friends are bringing a couple of side dishes to have along with the stuffing we’ll be making. Yum! – getting hungry already!
Update: Just a quick note to report that the Christmas turkey turned out to be excellent – moist white meat, great flavor! Our little experiment in dry-brining the holiday bird was a big success! Thanks to Russ Parsons for his article and recipe!
Updated: December 25, 2021 during Covid times! This is our Christmas dinner today!
This is truly one of those 5 minutes to prepare recipes. Basically, coat the pork shoulder roast, throw it in the Dutch oven and then into the real oven for slow roasting. The hard part is done!
Makes really great pork tortillas — or just pork to pile onto your plate. Great with salsa on the side!
I originally came across a version of this recipe in The New Cooks Tour of Sonoma by Michele Anna Jordan. It became a Loftesness family favorite from the first time we tried it!
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon chipotle powder
- 1 pork shoulder roast, about 3 1/2 lbs
- 2 dozen small corn tortillas
- 2 limes, cut in wedges
- 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
- In a small bowl, mix together the salt and chipotle powder and rub it into the pork, being sure to cover the entire surface of the meat with the mixture.
- Put the pork in a clay roaster or other deep roasting pan with a lid, place the covered roaster in the oven, and turn the heat to 275°F.
- Cook until the pork falls apart when you press it with the back of a fork, about 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Remove it from the oven and let rest, covered, for 15 minutes.
- Heat the tortillas on a medium-hot griddle, turning them frequently, until they are warmed through and soft. (Alternatively, heat them on a plate in the microwave). Wrap them in a tea towel and place them in a basket.
- Transfer the pork to a large serving platter and use two forks to pull it into chunks.
- Add the lime wedges to the platter, place the cilantro in a small serving bowl, and serve immediately, with the tortillas on the side.
- To fill the tortillas, set two, one on top of the other, on a plate, spoon some of the pork on top, squeeze a little lime juice over the pork, sprinkle some cilantro on top and fold in half.
We had some romaine lettuce left over from an
earlier salad and found that adding a bit of lettuce to the tortilla filling added a refreshing bit of ‘crunchiness’ to the taste. Yum!
Another good side dish is sautéed peppers and onions (3 sliced bell peppers, 1 sliced yellow onion, olive oil, touch of cumin, and touch of paprika). Goes great in the tortillas! We had this for our Christmas 2021 dinner.
Here’s a link to Elise Bauer’s blog post about a recent Wall St. Journal recipe for Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Melted Apples that we made recently. Also very nice without the heat of the chipotle pepper.
Note that she starts the roasting at 450 degrees uncovered for the first 30 minutes before covering it and reducing the heat to 325 degrees. I find roasting at 275 degrees works well – low and slow makes for fall apart tender pork!