For years, we’ve enjoyed a roast pork loin recipe titled “Roast pork loin with roasted apple compote” that was originally published in Barbara Kafka‘s cookbook “Roasting-A Simple Art“.
Much of Kafka’s book involves roasting at high heat – typically 500 degrees – and her recipe of coating the pork loin in mustard, salt and pepper at the start and then roasting with apples at that high temperature has always worked out well for us. Sometimes (depending upon how clean your oven is), roasting at that high a temperature can result in some smoking – so it takes some care.
On this Christmas Day, though, we’re trying some variations – something a bit different.
First, I decided to try brining the pork loin. Not a full 24-hours worth – because, in this case, I decided to brine it at about noon today – so it’ll only have about 5 hours of brining.
Brining is easy – start with a mixture of something like 2/3 cup of salt combined with 2/3 cup of sugar in steaming hot water (we have one of those faucet water heaters – so that’s easy!) along with some pepper. Cool it down (adding ice and some cold water seems to do that nicely) before putting the brine and the pork loin into the plastic freezer bag and putting everything into the refrigerator for a few hours.
Next, I decided to brown the pork loin roast before putting it into the oven. I like the bits of extra flavor that browning meat seems to generate. By browning the roast in our Le Creuset 6-3/4 Quart French Oven, we can brown the meat and roast it in the same pot, minimizing cleanup. After browning and removing the roast, the apples, and shallots are placed into the pot with the roast then placed on top. Cover and into the oven it goes.
We just finished our Christmas dinner – and this dish was a hit! The pork, even with just a few hours of brining, was moist and not dry. The pork was ready earlier – only needing an additional 5 minutes after removing the top from the pot. We let it rest the full 15 minutes before carving – and it was just great. The apple/shallots/mustard/cream compote is the perfect semi-sweet complement to the pork!
- Brine: 2/3 cup kosher salt, 2/3 cup sugar, 1 Tbsp pepper
- 2-1/2 to 3 lb pork loin roast – tied with string
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 tart apples (Granny Smith, etc.), halved
- 4 shallots, peeled
- 1-2 sprigs rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/3 cup cream
- 1-1/2 Tbsp mustard
- Prepare the brine by mixing sugar and salt with 1 cup of piping hot water. Add pepper. Add ice cubes and 2-3 cups additional water to cool down brine. Place pork loin roast in 1 gallon freezer bag, fill with brine mixture, and seal bag. Place bag in bowl and place into refrigerator until time to cook (no more than 24 hours).
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Remove roast from brine and pat dry all around. Season with salt and pepper (or your favorite rub).
- Place French Oven on high heat. Add olive oil, heat until shimmering. Sear the pork loin on all sides. Remove from heat and remove roast to plate.
- Place the three halved apples cut side down into French Oven along with the shallots, rosemary and bay leaf. Place the roast on top of the apple mixture, cover the pot and place into the pre-heated oven.
- Roast in the oven for 40 minutes. Remove the lid and continue roasting until the roast’s internal temperature reaches 140 degrees – perhaps 10-15 minutes more.
- Remove French Oven from oven, remove roast to cutting board, cover roast with aluminum foil and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Scoop out the apples and shallots into serving bowl. Deglaze the French Oven with a bit of white wine or brandy and add the apples back into the pot. Mix in the cream and the mustard and season to taste.
- Carve the pork loin roast and serve with the apples/shallots compote.
Originally posted December 25, 2008.
[Update: Christmas 2019 – Be sure the checkout this YouTube video recipe for slow roasting prime rib. This recipe uses the technique of an initial high-heat (500 degrees) roasting followed by literally turning the oven off and letting the roast continue to cook in the cooling oven for two more hours. That lower heat is the key to the magic of slow roasting!]
Earlier this week as part of our holiday get togethers, we had a family group over for dinner and cooked – for the first time in a long time – a prime rib roast. Prime rib is one of those special meals – just right for the holidays with friends and family! It was delicious – accompanied by roasted potatoes, and some spinach.
Elise has a great prime rib recipe over on her Simply Recipes site. We used the 450 degree for 15 minute and 350 for the rest – although we cranked it back up to 450 again for about 5 minutes before taking it out of the oven (a technique mentioned in one of Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa cookbooks).
Everyone reminds you about needing to let the roast rest for 15-20 minutes after you take it out of the oven — so I will remind you here too! 😉
For our Christmas family dinner this year, we roasted a 12-lb turkey that turned out delicious. For the first time, we tried a new technique consisting of roasting the bird upside down (breasts down) and high-heat kickoff followed by a two step heat reduction while roasting (a total of 3 different temperatures are used). All you do is manage time and temperature – nothing could be simpler.
In the past, we’ve done brining and that works well to yield a moist bird. But the high-heat upside-down approach used here delivered just about the best, most moist turkey we’ve tasted – without the hassles of brining. Note: I kind of had to give up brining – my wife just can’t stand the thought of open bowls of water and poultry in our refrigerator – she sees salmonella dancing everywhere around! Besides, as she says, there’s never enough room in the ‘frig anyway at this time of year!
Continue reading “Scott’s High Heat Upside-Down Roast Turkey Recipe”
A couple of years ago, the Chronicle tested a number of different recipes for roasting turkey and this particular best way brined turkey recipe came out on top – and has become a classic.
Update: We’ve come up with an alternative – without the mess of brining – that’s also just delicious! Try our high heat upside-down turkey recipe instead.