Pork Loin Roast Brined with Cider: Roasted with Potatoes and Onions
Based on Dawn Perry's recipe from Bon Appetit (October 2013)
1 Whatley Farm pork loin roast (bone-in, 3-5 lbs)
2 pounds Whatley Farm Blue Gold potatoes
3 large or 4 medium Whatley Farm red onions
¾ cup + 3 teaspoon fine salt (or 1 cup coarse)
1-2 T smoked salt (Gryffon Ridge is great)
1 teaspoon peppercorns, plus more fresh ground
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 T coriander seeds
2 bay leaves
32 oz hard cider (use dry cider such as Norumbega; buy extra so you can drink it as you cook!)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Defrost your loin roast by sticking it in the fridge a day ahead of when you plan to brine it. Brining is best done for approximately 8 hours (not much more or it will taste too salty—if you need to brine it longer, plan to soak the meat in fresh water before roasting).
Prep the brine—bring 2 cups of water to boil, add brown sugar, salt, bay leaves, 1 T of the coriander seeds, peppercorns. Simmer and stir to dissolve sugar and salt. Transfer to a bowl, add the hard cider and 2 cups of ice.
Place pork roast and brine in a water tight container. This can be a large resealable bag, or a bowl or pan. You want the roast to be completely submerged in the brine. Put in the fridge and let sit 8-10 hours. See note above about not brining too long!
Remove pork and pat dry. Let sit at room temp for an hour.
Wash but don't peel the potatoes. Half or quarter them, depending on size.
Peel and cut the onions in half.
Toss potatoes and onions together in a bowl with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 425 F, and place rack near the bottom.
Using the side of your knife, crush the remaining 2 T of coriander seeds, and rub these, along with some smoked salt and fresh pepper, all over your roast. (optional: grind the coriander coarsely in a coffee grinder).
Heat some olive oil in a skillet (medium heat) and brown the pork on all sides (about 2 minutes per side).
Place pork in roasting pan and surround it with the potatoes and onions.
Roast until a meat thermometer inserted into the deepest part of the roast reads 140 F. It will continue to cook while it rests, so don't overcook it. Turn the roast and stir the vegetables after half-an-hour. The roast should be ready in around an hour.
Rest the pork roast on a cutting board for 15 minutes before slicing, and keep the potatoes and onions in the still-warm (but shut-off) oven.
Optional: make a gravy with the pan drippings, cider or white wine, flour, and milk.
Carve roast in between the bones for thick loin chops.
Serve with the potatoes and onions, and optional gravy.
Baked winter squash is a great side dish! Make a root veggie slaw or salad and have a nearly 100% local winter feast.
Enjoy! -Whatley Farm