July 23, 2016
Comfort Food, Dinner, Main Dish,
Pork, Loins, Fruit, Apple, Vegetables, Squash, North American, Cooking For A Crowd, Entertaining, Fall/Autumn, Sunday Dinner, Winter, Marinate, Oven Roast, Refrigerator, Stove Top, No Eggs, Non-Dairy, Alcohol, Frozen Vegetables, Marinades & Brines more
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"At our farmers market; a few of the stands have a bin/recipe box, where anyone can add recipes. Just give them to the owner; and, they will gladly add them to his bin/box of recipes. This is one of the recipes I found; which sounded like a great 'Fall' dish. From what the recipe said; this originally is based on an 'Aldi's' recipe - so, I'm not sure of any changes the author may of made - but definitely worth passing along. I have made it once; and, it was amazing. It is a nice option to the heavier bread type of stuffing; often used. Also, it is great to entertain with ... just make sure to plan ahead. The pork does need to brine over night. And, there are a few steps; but, nothing difficult. I wouldn't suggest it for a weeknight dish; but, makes a great weekend dish. Also, it's great to prepare and stuff ahead; then, wrap up, refrigerate - and, it's ready to roast. I served some sauteed kale and swiss chard on the side; and some roasted beets. For those 'carb' lovers, you can also add a slice of maple beer bread on the side. Prep time, does not include time for the pork to brine."
Pork ... You need to butterfly the pork loin; which means ... cutting down from the top to bottom, from one end to the other; and, make sure you don't go all the way through to the bottom. Then, open it up like a book. It is very easy to do; but your butcher is more than happy to do this for you - just ask.
Brine ... First, I use a gallon ziploc bag; but, you can also use a 13x9" pan too. Add the hot water, salt, and brown sugar to the bag or pan; and, mix until it is well combined. I usually set the bag in a bowl; just to make it easier to add all the ingredients. Then, once the sugar and salt are dissolved; add the peppercorns, apple cider and ice water. Make sure that the brine has completely cooled before adding the pork. Then, add the pork; and close up the bag ... or cover the pan with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 8 hours; but, I prefer over night. Make sure to flip it a couple of times, if you can. To be safe - I like to lay the bag in a pan, just in case it leaks.
One it has brined; remove, rinse well; and pat dry. Then, let it rest on the counter, until it is almost room temperature. You don't want to stuff it when it is still cold. Make sure to discard the brine.
Squash Note: Now, I used frozen diced squash, a time saver. My bag was 10 oz; which was just about 1 1/4 cups, which was perfect. I saw 2-3 brands; and, they are all a bit different; but, this is really a great deal. But, you can always dice up a fresh squash too. The frozen is already blanched; so, that also saves some time. If using frozen squash, make sure it is thawed before using.
Stuffing ... In a medium saute pan; add, 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, squash and onions. Then, saute (on medium heat), covered, until the squash is fork tender (but not mushy), about 4-5 minutes, if using frozen, but thawed squash; or 7-9 minutes, using fresh squash. If the pan seems dry at any point, simply add a little water.
The last couple of minutes, add the apples and cranberries, and cook another 2-3 minutes, until heated through. Make sure to season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat to cool a bit.
Pork ... Then, once opened like a book; I like to cover it with plastic wrap; and, lightly pound the 2 sides down a bit ... NOT too much, just evening them out. This will just help the pork cook more evenly. Season the inside of the pork with a little salt and pepper; then, spread the cooled mixture over the pork; and top with the chopped herbs. Using 6 or 8 pieces of kitchen twine, (about 10" each), start at one end and tie up the pork. Try to spread them out evenly from end to end. Tie tightly to close up the pork around the stuffing.
Bake ... Place the pork in a large baking dish on top of the 4-5 thick onion slices, and add 1 cup of water. The onions act like a rack; also, they flavor the sauce. Season the pork with the salt and pepper, rubbing it all over the roast.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven, on the middle shelf, uncovered The loin should take 50-75 minutes; depending on the cut. Never rely on cooking times ... they are just a guideline. Rely on a thermometer for this type of recipe. The pork should be removed when it is between 145 and 150 (it will continue to cook as it rests).
Sauce ... As the pork cooks, try to spoon a little of the pan drippings on the pork loin, an few times during cooking. Once the pork is done; transfer to a serving platter; and, cover with foil. Rest at least 15-20 minutes before slicing.
Sauce ... Using a spoon, remove any excess grease from the pan drippings, if necessary. I did not find that necessary with my pork loin. Then, place the pan on the stove; or you can transfer the drippings to a small pot if you want. You only need 1/3-1/2 cup of the drippings; or whatever you have. Don't worry if you have a bit more or a bit less. Bring the drippings up to medium heat. Then, add the flour to create a roux, constantly whisking; then, slowly add the cider and chicken broth until, you get a nice smooth sauce. Bring up to a medium boil; add the brandy, orange juice - then, reduce to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper if necessary. I usually find, I do not have to re-season.
Serve and ENJOY! ... Yes, it takes a bit of time to make; but, it is so pretty and delicious to entertain with. Or, it makes a fantastic Sunday dinner. Serve with some sauteed kale/swiss chard, or roasted beets on the side; and, for carb lovers ... how about a warm loaf of beer bread; or a good loaf of crusty bread. And, I always serve extra sauce on the side.
NOTE: The thickness and size of the pork can really determine the cooking time; so, please use a thermometer. And, make sure to let it rest before serving. The sauce/gravy really adds a lot of flavor to the pork.
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