Some Pig {roasted pork loin}

We had dinner at a friend’s house the other evening and were served a delicious pork loin. I have been eating pork tenderloin just about weekly since elementary school but pork loin is another story. It just never really ended up on our dinner table – and I know why: because it’s outrageously delicious as a result of being (ahem) fatty. I caution you that this pork loin recipe isn’t something that you should eat weekly, but it’s definitely something that you should add to the repertoire. And for those of you out there who are afraid of pork, I implore you to embrace all things porcine and bring some home to cook.

Tenderloin and loin cook completely differently. The tenderloin is the equivalent of a beef tenderloin – very lean and, in my opinion, slightly bland albeit tender enough to eat with a spoon. We usually dry rub our tenderloin and throw it on the grill for a quick dinner. The loin, on the other hand, is a larger cut and one that needs a bit more attention. This was my first attempt at making a loin at home and I drew on a couple different techniques I use for other meats. We served this with brown rice and roasted brussels sprouts and a pan sauce that was pretty fantastic.

Here’s everything you’ll need for the pork:

  • 2 lb pork loin
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 8 sprigs thyme
  • 10 sage leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 apple
  • 20 pearl onions (or 1 yellow onion, chopped)
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tsp cornstarch

And for the brussels:

  • 1 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Start off by preheating your oven to 425°F. If you’re using the pearl onions, which I only used because I had some around the house, then go ahead and blanch them so they’re easier to peel. A diced onion is fine too for this.

It’s time to make a rub for your pork. Put the rosemary leaves, thyme leaves (save 2-3 sprigs), sage, red pepper flakes, salt, peeled garlic cloves and olive oil in a mini-prep or mortar and pestle to combine.

And whirr/mortar-pestlize until this:

Grab a large roasting pan or deep sheet pan and put your onions, apple, remaining thyme sprigs and 2 cups of the chicken stock in the bottom of a roasting pan. I drew inspiration for this part of the recipe from my roasted chicken recipe. I generally put down a layer of veggies and some chicken stock and put the chicken on top. It makes the creation of a gravy much easier. I knew I wanted to make a sauce for this too so I used that same idea.

Slather your pork loin with the herb/olive oil rub and just set that sucker right on top of the apples and onions.

And pop in the oven. After about 15 minutes, turn the oven temperature down from 425°F to 375°F and let cook until the internal temperature reaches 155°F at the thickest part. For me, it took about an hour and a half but I think that’s because the meat hadn’t thawed completely before I started.

Meanwhile, get your brussels sprouts ready.

Trim off the bottoms and peel back the outer leaves. Slice in half and toss with the olive oil, salt, pepper.

Place those in a single layer on a sheet pan and roast them for about 25 minutes until they are nice and tender and toasty.

Things are really starting to come together now. Once the pork has reached 155°F, go ahead and place it on a carving board and cover with foil so it can rest. While that happens, you can make your sauce.

Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining cup of cold chicken stock. Once the loin is napping, I put the whole roasting pan on the stove over medium-high heat until things begin to bubble. Add the chicken stock/cornstarch mixture to the pan and cook for a few minutes, whisking to get up any tasty bits from the pan. You can also check your resting loin to see if any juices have run off and add those to the pan sauce too.

We’re almost there. Time to slice up the loin.

I mean, that is some pig. We served this with brown rice and those tasty little compact cabbages and topped the whole thing with the sauce that you must admit was super easy to make.