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


Little Ol' Liz said...

Gosh that's a nice looking piece of piggy you've got there! I might have added some garlic to roast with it, but that's all. Late Thanksgiving wishes to you.

Ninette said...

Oh, thanks for the great idea. I host Thanksgiving and my whole family comes and stays with me for the week. Almost 20 people in the house! Roast pork like his would do the job, or some Filipino lechon kawali.

noobcook said...

wahh can smell the aroma from here ;) I should try to do a roast pork some time too, have yet to try before n yours look so amazing & inspiring

Charmaine said...

I'm with you. I prefer roast pork to turkey too. We usually cook something similar for christmas.

Amanda said...

What a gorgeous meal, I bet it tastes amazing!

Nate-n-Annie said...

Cracking cracklings!

pigpigscorner said...

Wow the meat looks gorgeous!

Nilmandra said...

Little Ol' Liz: Oh course, garlic! *smacks forehead*

Ninette: Thanksgiving for 20 people! Now that's a big responsibility!

Noobcook: Ah, but then you can buy char siew so easily, no need to make your own angmoh roast pork ;) Char siew is sweet and juicy on its own. This roast pork will require some gravy and/or applesauce to bring out the flavour.

Nate-n-Annie: Thanks! I was pleased with how the crackling turned out. Although too bad I don't actually like eating crackling heh...

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