Pork – the “other” white meat, and my latest love. I’ve always adored pork chops, pork tacos and barbecued rips, lately I’ve developed an unquenchable appetite for pork roasts as well. I like the way the pork roast develops that beautiful, flavorful crust, especially when pan-seared. While I look for a roast that has been trimmed, a little fat is a good thing, adding flavor to both the finished roast and the pan drippings.
Pulled pork – love it! Smoked pork – love it! Stuffed pork roast (as in Genoa Style Stuffed Pork Loin Roast) – what’s not to love? Looking back over the last fourteen months, I’ve shared a number of pork recipes along the way. I don’t think I could pick an all-time favorite. It just seems that you can’t go wrong with pork. The only word of caution – pork can and will dry out if not property attended to – or generously moist and tender with a little TLC.
The recipe for Roast Pork Loin that follows is one I picked up at William-Sonoma. Generally speaking, you can’t go wrong with any recipe from William-Sonoma. That said, I feared my own skills. I get nervous anytime I make a pork roast – and to quiet my own fears I almost always add liquid to the pan to promote moisture. This recipe did not call for chicken stock in its original form. However; the pan I used just didn’t seem deep enough, the roast itself (in my opinion) sat up too high, exposing the meat to the dry heat of the oven. Also, the potatoes below were going to compete for the meat’s natural juices. Another fear set in. Deep breaths – listen to your inner voice. Add the chicken stock to prime the pot, keep an eye on the meat and seal with foil if necessary to promote moisture to naturally gather. Trust your instincts. That’s what my inner voice whispered.
The results were marvelous – simply marvelous. Okay, maybe that’s a bit much – all I know with any certainty is that the roast was tender, moist and my guys were raving about dinner. Raving – it doesn’t get any better, does it?
Roasted Pork Loin with Red Potatoes and Leeks
2 lbs. Red potatoes, cut into chunks
2 leeks, white and light green portions
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, plus more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
2 fresh bay leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 1/2 lb boneless pork loin roast, tied with
2 tablespoons garlic powder, divided
butcher twine at 1/2-inch intervals
1/3 Cup Chicken Stock
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.
Cut ends from leeks, cut length-wise into quarters. In a bowl, stir together the potatoes, leeks, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, thyme, oregano, bay leaves, salt and pepper.
Sprinkle the pork roast with the garlic powder (about 1 tablespoons per side), rub, then season generously with kosher salt and fresh pepper. (Two or three twists of the mill).
In a large, deep sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil until just smoking. Add the pork and sear until well browned on all sides, about 8 minutes per side. Transfer to a foil lined plate. Draw up foil and wrap pork to keep warm.
Add the potatoes and leeks to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Place the pork on top of the potato mixture, add chicken stock and transfer to the oven.
Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 145°F and the pork is barely pink in the center, about 45 minutes. Check pork after about 35 minutes. If pork appears to be drying out, turn roast over, cover with foil and continue to cook.
Transfer the pork to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
Remove leeks and bay leaves from pan, discard bay leaves, lay leaks on warm serving platter lengthwise.
Carve the pork, arrange on a warmed platter over the leeks and sprinkle with oregano. Surround pork with the red potatoes. Pour any remaining juices from cooking pan over the roast and potatoes. Serve immediately.