Recipe: Bourbon-Spiked Boneless Pork Loin Roast
That is a lot of alliteration in the title of my first article to ring in the new year. So without further ado: Happy New Year. I hope 2019 is the year to end all years in terms of personal happiness and success, the care and respect for our beautiful planet and an ascension to a time of civility, inclusion and decency right here at home in the old U.S. of A. Last year was rough, no doubt about it. And unlike most of you, whom I hope got to toss any psychic pain aside and ring in the new year toasting champagne and eating well, I made a feast for a client that featured my now favorite pork loin recipe which has taken me years to perfect.
Although pork is one of the easier dishes to whip up in the kitchen, it is notoriously a high-risk venture. Almost everyone overcooks pork so the end result is tough, dry and flavor-challenged. Even my goddess Marcella Hazan has a huge gaffe in one of her better recipes wherein the she calls for cooking a small loin bathed in milk for hours. No. No. No. So, after much trial and error and fear of my client uttering the words “the pork is dry,” I put together a recipe that I prayed was failsafe.
It started out with marinating the meat overnight wrapped in plastic wrap. This seemed to intensify the flavors of the marinade. After bringing the roast to room temperature (don’t worry, it won’t spoil outside of the refrigerator for an hour), I roasted it in a hot oven for well under the advised time of all the food safety sites. Voila! The roast was seared on the outside with such a beautiful crust leaving behind all kinds of burnt bits in the pan (perfect for the gravy part of the recipe) and yielded a slightly rosy center dripping in jus. And the best part happens the next day when you slice it thin for panini. This felt like such a massive accomplishment that I was grateful to be working on the first day of the new year as I took the perfectly cooked roast as an auspicious sign of all the greatness which would follow in 2019.
Marinated Pork Loin Roast with Bourbon Gravy
Yields 10 servings with leftovers
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 small onion, quartered
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
1 tablespoon coarse salt
½ tablespoon coarse ground pepper
1 5-pound boneless pork loin, tied
Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until a coarse paste forms. Don’t overprocess to the point the onions liquefy.
Prepare a large sheet of plastic wrap. Place pork loin on top. Slather with marinade. Seal tightly. Refrigerate overnight. Take out 1 hour before cooking and allow to come to room temperature before roasting.
6 tablespoons butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken bouillon
¼ cup good-quality bourbon
Additional salt and pepper to taste
½ cup chopped scallions
Remove pork from refrigerator and place in a heavy roasting pan once you’ve removed the plastic wrap. Leave the marinade on. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Assemble your gravy ingredients.
Roast the pork for exactly 1 hour and pull it from the oven. It should have an evenly bronzed crust and the juices should run golden when pierced in the center. Remove the roast from the pan and set on a platter. Cover in foil. It will continue to cook.
Place the roasting pan on the stovetop. Gather the browned bits in the center and turn the flame to low. Melt the butter in the pan, incorporating all the pan drippings. Scatter the flour over the pan. Whisk the flour and fats together until a roux forms. Cook for a minute or two to toast the flour. Now add the bourbon. It will thicken up immediately. Saute for just a minute to cook off some of the liquor. Now add a cup of the bouillon and whisk until a thick gravy forms. Check on the roast. If jus has collected on the platter, add it to the pan. Continue cooking and add more bouillon allowing gravy to thicken after every addition until you have used all the broth. If it’s too thick you can add water to thin it down. Scatter the scallions in the pan.
Remove the butcher twine from the roast and slice thick slabs of roast (3/4 inch). Smother in the boozy gravy.
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