First off, I just want to thank everyone who weighed in on my post yesterday (and bless your hearts, no one pointed out that I’d misspelled “quandary”), both here and on Facebook. It really helped me to make a decision*, and Beloved and I sat down last night and put together a tentative menu for the day. I’ll tell you about it, no later than Friday, and post (or repost) recipes in the days up until Thanksgiving.
I made this dish the other night and already decided I was going to replace my old, high-sugar cranberry sauce with this recipe (sans pork loin, of course). It is simply delicious, but I have to tell you that I am going to tweak it and use an orange instead of a lemon; the addition of the lemon made this just a wee bit too tart, and I ended up adding just a touch of Splenda – something I don’t normally use any longer – to cut the “pucker factor” a bit. Besides, the pairing of cranberries with orange is classic, and I think it will make for a wonderful sauce.
As for the pork loin, when we ordered Arnold a few months ago, I asked for the loin to be cut entirely in individual bone-in chops; since there is only 3 of us at home, getting some of it in the form of loin roasts seemed silly. I’d forgotten, though, how much Beloved and The Young One love pork loin, so when we ordered Wilbur I asked for two pork loin roasts, with the remainder of the loin cut into individual boneless chops. It was a good decision.
Pork loin can easily become dry when roasted and not marinated, but this recipe makes for a flavorful, yet tender, loin. You can use any dried herb in the rub; although I used basil, rosemary would be marvelous.
*It not only helped me make a decision about Thanksgiving dinner, but Christmas dinner as well, which will include the standing rib-roast from Chuck and, most likely, warm chocolate soufflé and peppermint ice cream for dessert. Only because I know I won’t get but a taste of each, since Oldest Son, Darling Daughter and The Young One will devour all of it.
Roast Pork Loin with Spicy Cranberry-Wine Sauce
Serves 6, with leftover sauce
2 to 3 pound pork loin roast – do not trim the fat
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil or rosemary or thyme
one 12 oz. package fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained
1/2 lemon, quartered
1 small, tart apple, peeled and chopped
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup honey
Sugar or Splenda to taste, if needed
1/2 cup dry red wine (a shiraz or zinfandel would be good)
Water to cover
Preheat oven to 425º F.
In a small bowl, stir together the salt, pepper, garlic powder and dried herbs. Rinse the pork loin, and pat dry; rub the salt mixture evenly over the pork. Place, fat side up, in the V-rack of a roasting pan. Roast for 30 minutes, then turn the heat down to 350º F and roast for another hour, or until the internal temperature reaches 150º F on an instant read thermometer. Remove from the oven and allow the pork loin to rest for 20 minutes before slicing.
While the pork loin is roasting, combine the cranberries, lemon, apple, cinnamon sticks, red pepper flakes, honey and wine in a large, heavy saucepan. Add just enough water to cover the fruit, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cranberries pop, the apple softens and the entire mixture thickens. Remove from heat and remove lemon pieces and allow to cool. Taste, and add sugar or Splenda, if needed.
Serve the sauce over the sliced pork loin.
Posted in participation with Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday