It’s all well and good to put together large, symphonic dishes. Dishes that take lots of ingredients and lots of finicky prep. Hey, I’m a food blogger – there are more than a few of those on the Calorie Factory site – we are not immune to their lure!!
But some dishes are so perfect, so lush, so. . .prime, with just a bare minimum of work that they call out to be made.
In that spirit, I offer my version of Roast Pork Loin. I’ve made this with preserved oranges, but you could easily use orange marmalade or even fresh oranges and a bit of sweetness (maple syrup? brown sugar perhaps).
It’s super easy and remarkably good – the meat is so tender you can cut it with a spoon. It takes a while to cook, but virtually all the time is just oven time, so you can fix whatever sides you like while the meat finishes cooking.
Roast Pork Loin with Preserved Orange
- 1 pork loin, about 2-1/2 lbs. not rolled up. If you get a rolled pork loin at the market, unroll it. Yes.
- Several T. preserved orange or orange marmalade
- 1 T. dried thyme or a bunch of fresh thyme twigs
- Maple syrup
- Salt, pepper to taste. Unless you are on a salt restricted diet, I recommend using approx. 2-3 tsp (1 T) Kosher salt and about 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper.
- 1 tsp. garlic powder. Sure. Garlic powder. OK, OK, 6 cloves of garlic, minced, and smashed with a bit of sea salt, but I was *trying* to keep this effortless. Reasonably fresh garlic powder is not a terrible choice for this dish.
- Splash white wine
Remove the loin from your refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. If frozen, defrost according to directions and let sit on your kitchen counter on a plate, covered for 45 minutes.
Using paper towels, pat the loin as dry as possible. This is an important step. Then rub the loin with the salt and pepper.
Heat a large, heavy frying pan over medium high heat until it’s quite hot. On my range, which has a pretty big burner, this takes about 2 minutes – I mean *hot*!
Place the pork loin into the hot pan. Now – do not move the pork loin!! You may very well be tempted to check it out, but trust me, don’t touch it for a couple of minutes. There will be smoke, but it is all good! In a couple of minutes, using a pair of tongs, very gently lift an edge of the loin – it should come up with almost no resistance, having formed a caramelized “shell” on its bottom.
Turn it over and sear the other side in the same fashion. When the loin is seared nicely on both sides, remove from the frying pan and place in a roasting pan just large enough to hold it.
Tip: This technique leaves a bit of charcoal and very dark fond on the bottom of your pan. As soon as you remove the loin from the pan, pour a cup of water into the pan and deglaze. Reduce the water by about half – this will happen very quickly. Taste it. Is it a little – but not extremely – bitter? Good. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the remaining water into a container. You’ll use it in a moment.
Cover the loin with the preserved orange or marmalade. Sprinkle it with thyme and garlic powder. Fresh minced garlic cloves!! You know. Pour in a couple of ounces of the deglazing water and a small splash of white wine. Seal the pan with foil and a lid or a double seal of foil – seal it as tightly as possible.
Put the pan in a pre-heated 325F. oven (about 160Celsius). Set your timer for 60 minutes and walk away. Have a glass of wine. Make some sides.
At the end of the hour, the roast should be done – you can check with an instant read kitchen thermometer, it should have come to an internal temperature of 145-150. Remove from the oven, uncover, and let it sit for 15 minutes. 15 minutes. Please let it sit, you’ll love what happens.
Slice into 1/4″ or so thick slices. Notice that your slices have a slight pinkish tinge. This is OK! You no longer have to cook pork to 180 Fahrenheit degrees, at which point it is tough as an old bird.
Serve with your sides. Here I’m showing some broccolini and a bit of leftover potato gratine that I had in the fridge – it was a glorious meal and we truly enjoyed the fresh, tender, moist flavor of the pork.
Tip: If you like, sprinkle just a bit of a finishing salt, like Maldon salt, on top of the slices. I did and I was glad!