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Monday, March 26, 2012

Summer Savory Roast Pork

One thing I grew up with - with my painfully white upbringing - was Sunday feasts.

I don't really know from where this came, but for some reason WASPs love to cook up a roast something or other on Sundays.

So, I've had an insane amount of Sunday roasts.

I don't really follow the "tradition" myself; I do like to make a roast here and there, but more than likely for other motivations.

Roasts can be very economical, and can be a pleasant extravagance; we don't really consume a lot of meat these days, so a whole roast like this is not only a delicious treat, but is also enough for quite a few meals.

Anyway, with this Sunday Roast Feast, we cooked up a small-ish pork loin along with a fair bit of roasted veggies, potatoes, and some braised cabbage.

Really I'm just focusing on the roast pork here though.


I've been pretty good at cooking roasts over the years.  To me they don't really seem all that hard.  The trick is just keeping them moist.  So... all the no-brainer things that go along with that: low-temperatures for baking, a tight-fitting lid, a good amount of liquid in the bottom of the baking dish, and taking a reading on the meat.

That's just requisite.  The fun stuff comes into all the wonderful flavours you can pile in - both underneath and on top of the roasting meat.  So, I usually always put some root veggies on the bottom in my liquid mixture, and other, more starchy veggies (potatoes, carrots, etc.) on top.  Depending on the size of the meat, and how long it's in the oven, I will sometimes NOT add the veggies on top until nearer the end-time.  Carrots, for example, would be shriveled-down to nothing if left in for the entire cooking time...

Anyway, for this, I chopped up (coarsely, rather than finely, for a change!) some white onion, green onion, and smooshed some garlic cloves.

After lightly oiling my trusty Le Creuset baking dish, I added a splash of red wine, and then tossed these root veggies in, giving them a turn or two.

Then I mixed up a 'rub' for the pork loin.  A lot of people seem genuinely stressed about this sort of thing, but really there is so much flexibility on what you can use for a rub.  It's almost to the point where I would think it easier to come up with things which would NOT work well as a rub.

So, for today, I felt like some summer savory.  It was a nice, warm, sunny day, and one of the first of the Spring, and savory is very fresh, and very green.  It felt like a good fit.

So, it was pretty simple - savory, a few green peppercorns, and a pinch of sel gris.


Now, because I believe that there is no such thing as an 'over-cooked' potato (burnt, sure - but over-cooked, never!)  I will always throw my potatoes in at the start of roasting.  The more you cook a potato, the softer it gets.  

As an interesting aside on potatoes - let me just say that when I get a 'craving' for some awesome potatoes I will sometimes use three different cooking methods, over as many hours, for the same group of potatoes.  There's nothing better to satisfy a craving for potatoes, than baking (or frying!) some already-fully-cooked, boiled potatoes.  Mmmmmmmm...
Anyway, the potatoes went in at this point.

Then, on goes the tight-fitting lid, and into the oven at 350° for only an hour or so.

I have a pretty decent meat thermometer that has made life very easy when it comes to roasting meats.  It's one of those kinds which you can even leave IN while it cooks.  If you don't have one of these, I highly recommend you get one.  It takes the guess work, and the calculating-time-by-kilogram right out of it.  Very handy.

Anyway, the pork looked delicious, as you can see:

I'm even going to add a seriously-high-resolution pic here (well... as high as is allowed here), just to illustrate!  Go ahead and click on this: