What’s for Christmas Dinner? Pork Loin w/Apples!

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!

What’s for Dinner this Christmas Eve?

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!

Christmas Dinner: A Dry-Brined and High-Heat Upside Down Turkey

Merry Christmas!

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!