Sunday, February 26, 2012

Recipe: Apple Spiced Pork Loin with Mustard Sauce

Everything happens to everybody sooner or later if there is time enough. – George Bernard Shaw 

Excellent way to serve pork loin. Spiced and fork tender!
It's Sunday again and, like many Maritime families, dinner will be the "Sunday joint." In Nova Scotia that's a euphemism for a big chunk of meat – usually a roast.

A roast takes time. Why not switch it up slightly and serve a spiced, braised loin of pork? This actually takes less effort than your usual chunk of roast. I believe one of the local groceries even have pork loin on sale this week.

I used a ceramic tureen to mainate and cook in. The loin
just fit and the liquid came up around the side.
This may sound a bit of an odd thing when you read the directions but works amazingly well. My inspiration started out life as a marinade that used an already pickled pork roast. 

Since I didn't have a pickled pork roast – but did have a fresh loin – I started to think. That's always a dangerous proposition!

Why couldn't you do a sort of "quick pickle" using the same sort of spices and ingredients you would if you marinated the meat for a whole week? You can, it turns out. 

Marinating the meat for only 8 hours in the spices imparts the flavours in a gentle way. Cooking in the same spices increases those flavours. This doesn't taste like pickled pork. It's more of a spiced meat, hence the name. It's really good.

Marinating in vinegar certainly made this meat fork tender. Loin is notorious for being dry if cooked improperly. Cooking it in the spices, and substituting the marinade vinegar for apple cider just before cooking, made a moist, delicious main course. 

The mustard sauce is gilding the lily, but well worth the 5 minutes it takes just before serving.

I hope you like this recipe. It's one of those dishes that you can start marinating before you go to work and is ready to go in the oven when you get home.

By the way, the beans in the picture on top are my own pickled beans recipe. They were great. (Recipe here.)

Apple Spiced Pork Loin with Mustard Sauce
Marinade: 8 hours  |  Cook: 1 hour  |  Serves 6-8
1.5 to 2 lb pork loin
12 whole cloves
1/2 med onion, thinly sliced
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup currants
2" cinnamon stick
1 tbsp chopped ginger
1 tsp pickling spice
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 cup apple cider

Combine all the ingredients except for the pork and apple cider in an oven proof, non-reactive dish with a cover. That means something like glass or ceramic. (Not metal as the vinegar will react with it.) If your dish doesn't have a cover you can use plastic wrap as a substitute.

Mix well. Then nestle the pork into the marinating liquid and refrigerate for 8 hours. Turn once at the halfway mark if you or someone is home to do so.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Drain the pork marinade through a colander to get rid of the vinegar. Add the spices, onions, etc back to the dish. Add the pork and pour the 1 cup of apple cider over the top.

Place the pork in the oven, cover and let cook for 45 min to 1 hour, or until a meat thermometer reads 160°F in the centre of the meat. If your baking dish doesn't have a lid cover it tightly with foil.

Drain the meat, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. 

Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing. During this time make the mustard sauce.

Mustard Sauce
Time: 5-6 minutes
1/4 cup butter
1/2 small onion, diced
3 tsp flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup liquid from cooking the pork
1 tbsp Dijon
2 tbsp chopped parsley (optional)

Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the onion and cook over low heat until soft. 

Stir the four into the butter and onions. Gradually add the milk and cooking liquid. Let it cook until it thickens. 

Stir in mustard and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Then stir in the parsley and serve over the meat.


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