Thursday, 29 October 2009

Roast pork loin for Thanksgiving

A whole roast turkey is just impractical for two of us, and neither of us are that keen on turkey anyway (to do just a breast or joint). The vote went to roast pork, since I've not done that for a long time and it's an excuse to make some lovely applesauce with the season's harvest (recipe in the next post). This roast pork recipe certainly took a long time coming given how long it's been since Thanksgiving here in Canada. But perhaps folks in the US could find some inspiration in this for their Thanksgiving in November.

Roast pork loin

Make sure you get your pork with a good layer of fat/skin on top. Even if you are not one of those who like pork crackling (the fat that goes all crispy after oven cooking), the fat keeps the meat moist and adds a lot of flavour. You can also discard the crackling after cooking or add them to finish off your roast potatoes for extra flavour.

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

1.2kg/2.5lb loin of pork with a good layer of fat on top
1 small onion
1 small carrot
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp plain flour
A few sprigs of rosemary (optional)
Salt and freshly milled black pepper


1. Pre-heat the oven to 240C/475F/Gas 9. Cut the onion and carrot into large pieces and layer them in a roasting tray. Drizzle the olive oil over the vegetables.

Veggie trivet

2. Score the skin of the pork all over with a sharp knife (it may already be scored for you by the butcher), about halfway through the fat layer. Sprinkle the flour (this makes the skin crisp up nicely if you want to eat the crackling), salt and pepper all over the pork, rubbing them into the cuts on the fat. Stick the rosemary sprigs into the cuts.

Roast pork loin

3. Place the pork in the roasting tin on top of the vegetables and then place in the middle of the heated oven. Roast it for 25 minutes before turn the heat down to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Calculate the total cooking time allowing 35 minutes to the pound. In this case, I cooked the pork for 25 minutes on high heat and then a further 65 minutes on the lower heat. There is enough fat to keep the pork moist but you can baste the meat once during cooking if you wish. The meat is cooked if you stick a skewer in the thickest part and the juices that run out when pressed is clear with no trace of pink.

4. When the pork is cooked, remove it from the oven, cover loosely with foil and give it at least 30 minutes resting time before carving. The crackling may lose its crispness if left to rest until the foil with the meat. You can remove the crackling first and then set the meat to rest. Place it back in the oven on a tray or with the roast potatoes during the final 5-10 minutes before serving to let it crisp up further.

5. In the meantime, make the gravy using the same steps as in this previous post. Tilt the tin and spoon off almost all the fat, leaving only the juces. Leave the charred onion and carrot in. Place the roasting tin over direct heat, turned to low. Sprinkle in 1 tbsp of plain flour and quickly work it into the juices with a wooden spoon. Now turn the heat up to medium and gradually add cider/white wine or stock, stirring frequently as it simmer until you have a smooth rich gravy. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard the onion and carrot and pour the gravy into a warmed serving jug. Serve the pork carved in slices, giving everyone some crackling if they wish.

This was our Thanksgiving dinner (before the gravy): roast pork, homemade apple sauce, brussel sprouts, carrots, roast potatoes and roast parsnips.

Thanksgiving roast dinner

Click post title for full recipe

Monday, 12 October 2009

Past bento

Holy crumbs, More than a month without an update! I could go into why, but I will leave that for a later post. It is Thanksgiving Day here in Canada and I have a lovely dinner planned that will keep me busy later but belly-happy. Instead of a whole turkey or even turkey joint for only the two of us, I am cooking a roast pork loin, which I will be blogging about in my next update.

Thanksgiving dinners often lead to leftovers for at least another day or two. How about packing some of them for lunch in a bento? Here are some bento made a while ago that I have not gotten round to putting up. To all Canadian readeres, Happy Thanksgiving!

This was made for lunch after we had roast beef for dinner the night before: coriander couscous, roast beef, asparagus, strawberries and grapes

Vegetable stir fry, cherry tomatoes, chicken rice, steamed chicken breast topped with spring onions and coriander dressing.

Inarizushi, cherry tomatoes, edamame, onigiri and cherries.

Roast chicken leg, cherry tomatoes, asparagus and sundried tomato couscous

Click post title for full recipe