I am going to make a bold claim here and declare this recipe a new
family-favorite. It is a keeper! Besides being a really easy recipe - you can
have dinner on the table in about an hour - it is perfect for a cozy supper when
the air starts turning crisp and you want stick-to-your-ribs food. Whether it is just your family gathered around your table or invited guests - it is the perfect combination of rustic and elegant. The pork is so tender, succulent and juicy, and the vegetables and apples so delicious, that when combined and topped off by the cider sauce, you will think you are in roast pork-veggie-apple heaven.
Look for local apples and freshly pressed cider, available right now, at our local farmers’ markets. More importantly, look for pasture-raised pork. Why is pasture-raised, or grass-fed, meat so important, you might ask? Well besides feeding the animals the native diet that nature intended, grass-fed meat tastes better and is better for you and for the health of the planet. It is lower in calories, in saturated fat and in total fat than conventionally raised, grain-fed meat, and it is higher in vitamins and omega-3’s. Grass-fed meat is also not treated with antibiotics or other drugs. (You can read more at www.eatwild.com)
I hope that your family enjoys this perfect-for-early-fall recipe as much as ours did!
Roast Pork Loin with Apples (adapted from Food Network)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 (2-pound) boneless center cut pork loin, trimmed and tied
Smoked sea salt, smoked paprika, freshly ground black pepper
2 medium onions, thickly sliced
2 carrots, thickly sliced
2 stalks celery, thickly sliced
4 cloves garlic, smashed
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh sage
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
2 apples, such as Cortland or Rome, peeled, cored and cut into 8 slices each
3 Tablespoons raw cider vinegar
1 cup apple cider
3 Tablespoons whole grain mustard
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large ovenproof skillet (I used my good old cast iron pan), heat the oil over high heat. Season the pork loin all over generously with salt, paprika and pepper. Sear the meat until golden brown all over, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer the meat to a plate and set it aside.
Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, herb sprigs and 2 Tablespoons of butter to the skillet. Stir until the vegetables are browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in the sliced apples, the push the mixture to the sides and set the pork loin in the middle of the skillet along with any collected juices on the plate. Transfer the
skillet to the oven and roast the loin until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the meat registers 140-150 degrees, about 30-35 minutes. The roast should be slightly pink in the center; you want this with grass-fed pork. You can cook it to 160 degrees; however, it will not be as moist or tasty.)
Transfer the pork to a cutting board and cover it loosely with foil while you make the sauce. Arrange the apples and vegetables on a serving platter and set aside. Remove and discard the herb sprigs. Return the skillet to a high heat and add the
vinegar, scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen up any browned bits.
Reduce by half then add the cider and reduce by half again. Pull the skillet from the heat and whisk in the mustard and the remaining 2 Tablespoons of cold butter. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
Remove string from roast, slice into ½” pieces and arrange over apple mixture. Drizzle some sauce over and serve the rest on the side.