Sunday, September 8, 2013

It's fall, let's roast!

Dearest Readers,
Today starts the most beautiful of seasons. Yes, I know it's still summer, and the glorious "Autumn in New York" season hasn't really started yet as we're all crossing our fingers for more indian summer. What I'm talking about, my cooking gurus, is football season.
Just like you, friends, as the end of August rolls up, I get sad, melancholy that the number of immediate beach days is dwindling... Ok, I'm being melodramatic, all I'm trying to say is that generally, my end-of-summer angst is easily cast aside when the first official Sunday of Football Season comes around! And that's today! I am excited!

With football literally kicking-off, I felt like making something meaty. I stopped into B61 to see my good friend Diana on Saturday afternoon, and she talked up a pork roast she had recently made that sold me on the idea. I put my feelings of inadequacy at cooking pork on the back burner, opened up my favorite cookbook, and jumped right in.
It has been a hectic end of the summer, so I had a fair amount of "close to expiration" produce in the fridge. Chopped onions, whole carrots, some celery, garlic, the basics. I decided I would carmelize them as best I could on the stove top while I took America's Test Kitchen advice and brined the 1.5 lb pork tenderloin.

I put it in 2 quarts of water with 1/4 cup of salt and 1/4 cup of (brown, because it's all I had) sugar for about an hour (my loin was smaller than the recipe called for, and that's the last time you'll hear me say that) I also added a sliced dried chili pepper, as I like a little kick.

So while the pig brined, I put the 1 chopped onion I had in the fridge into a large saucepan at medium-high heat with about a tablespoon of olive oil and a half tablespoon of butter. Then I sliced up 5 carrots, 3 cloves of garlic, 4 ribs of celery, and a small apple. I brought the heat down to medium/medium-low once everything was in the pan, and stirred it pretty regularly. I salted once, and threw a little bit of old red wine twice (about 1 teaspoon each time) to keep the pan from drying out, and I let it cook for the hour that the pork brined.

Once the vegetables were cooked and the brining was done, I followed instructions, tied up the pork, and let it sit for a half hour.

In this time, I took a look at the glazes in the America's Test Kitchen cookbook, and realized I had all the ingredients for one of them:
3/4 cup of honey
juice of 3 limes
2 minced chipotles in adobo sauce
1.5 tsp cumin

I actually had 2 honey containers that had turned kind of "granular"? so I scooped out what I could and put some warm water in the containers to dissolve what remained. Voila, 1 cup of watered down honey. My limes were a little dessicated, but they still juiced. I combined all the ingredients and set it aside.
I preheated the oven to 375dried, salted, and peppered the meat, and to the now empty pan in which I had cooked the vegetables, I added about a tablespoon of olive oil (instead of vegetable just because i didn't have any) and heated it. I browned the loin on each side in the pan, it took about 10 minutes. I put the pork into a 12x9 glass baking pan, and popped it into the oven.

DISCLOSURE- I do not own a meat thermometer *hangs head in shame* I know I need one. But for the purposes of this recipe, since my loin was... well, you know... I figured the minimum cooking time (they gave a range of 50-70 minutes) would work. I will get a meat thermometer, as the recipe indicates that you should cook the pork until the thickest part of the roast measures 135 degrees and then pull it out of the oven, place it on a board, tent it with aluminum, and let it rest until the thermometer reads 145-150 degrees.
Disclosure complete.
Once I got the roast into the oven, I poured the fat/oil out of the saucepan I had browned the meat in, and poured the glaze ingredients into the pan, heating it at low. I stirred/pan agitated pretty consistently so it would cook down a bit.

25 minutes into cooking the roast, I opened the oven quickly and turned the pork over to its other side.

35 minutes into cooking, I poured some of the glaze over the top of the pork, and put a bit (2 tablespoons?) of warm water into the bottom of the pan to keep it from burning.

45 minutes into cooking, I put the carmelized vegetables into the pan, around the pork, and poured the rest of the glaze over the roast and the vegetables, and put it back into the oven for another 10 minutes or so.

55 minutes in, I turned the oven off, pulled the pan out, took a picture! put the pork on a cutting board, tented it with tinfoil, then put the pan with the veggies and glaze back into the oven.

It was really really good. I'd definitely do something like it again soon. I think slow/long cooking the veggies in advance really added a nice depth to the pork/glaze combo. If you don't have time to slow-cook the veggies, don't worry, you can cut up any veggies you want, put them into the pan when you put the roast in the oven, and they will cook beautifully.

May all your passes be spiral and all your hail marys caught.


  1. Thanks D!
    I am eating leftovers for lunch right now and they are pretty good!