Monday, November 14, 2011

Maple-Brined Boneless Pork Loin Roast with Apples, Onions, and Mustard Bread Crumbs

I think pork gets a bad rap. I associate it with over-dried chunks of meat that are anything but appetizing. This dish, however, was moist, flavourful, and excellent. It came out perfectly cooked with just a hint of maple-appley goodness. It surpassed my expectations and I had to restrain myself to keep from eating too much. I followed the recipe almost exactly, only substituting some thyme for rosemary because I ran out of rosemary. Next year, I will remember to buy large amounts of apple cider when I go apple picking for this recipe! I wasn't too sure about the apple-onion mixture, but it tasted even better the next day. As a warning, the brine requires some advance planning and this is not a quick recipe, but the results are worth it. If you don't have fresh bread to make bread crumbs, I would probably skip the crumbs.

One year ago: Curried Peanut and Tomato Soup
Two years ago: Cornbread Dressing

Maple-Brined Boneless Pork Loin Roast with Apples, Onions, and Mustard Bread Crumbs (from All About Roasting)

5 cups cool water
1/3 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
4 garlic cloves, smashed (skin can stay on)
2 bay leaves
900g - 1.1kg boneless pork loin, preferably a blade-end roast, tied at 2" intervals
450g tart, crisp apples (3 - 4), peeled, cored, and cut into 1" chunks (~3 cups)
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced (~2 cups)
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups fresh apple cider (mine was hard cider), divided
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary

1. At least 18 hours before roasting, combine water with salt and syrup and stir to dissolve the salt. Add rosemary, peppercorns, garlic and bay leaves.
2. Put pork roast in a sturdy gallon-size bag, pour in brine, and seal. Refrigerate for at least 18 hours and up to 24 hours.
3. One hour before roasting, remove pork from brine and let site at room temperature.
4. Heat oven to 325F.
5. Put apples, onion, and rosemary in a bow. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
6. Spread apple-onion mixture in bottom of a shallow-sided roasting pan that will hold pork roast with 2 - 3" to spare around the sides. Set aside.
7. Heat 1 cup cider in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and boil until reduced to about 1/3 cup, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in maple syrup and mustard. Set aside.
8. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp of oil and pat pork dry. Brown pork until brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Set pork fat side up on apples and onions.
9. Return skillet to high heat. Add remaining 1 cup cider and bring to a boil, scraping the pan. Boil until reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Pour over apples and onions, avoiding pouring on pork.
10. Brush half of the cider glaze over the top side of the pork.
11. Roast pork for 45 minutes. Brush with remaining glaze. Return to oven and roast until thermometer in center registers 140F, about 1 - 1 1/4 hours total.
12. In a medium bowl, stir together bread crumbs, melted butter, mustard, and rosemary. Season to taste.
13. Transfer pork to a carving board and let rest for 10 - 15 minutes.
14. Stir apple-onion mixture and keep warm.
15. Increase oven to 375F. Spread bread crumbs on a small baking sheet and toast in oven, stirring often, until golden brown and crispy, 10 - 12 minutes.
16. Remove strings from roast and carve into slices. Serve with apple-onion mixture on the side and top pork with bread crumbs.

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