Oh my have I been waiting to share this. We made this two weeks ago and it is about to happen again this week - that's when you know it is a good one. There are so many great things going on with this recipe. There are a couple of secrets that you must do to experience all it has to offer. 1) Salt the pork 2 hours before cooking - and use lots of salt. It really makes the dish very tasty. 2) Serve with Apple Butter. The pork, apples and onions become very salty, and the sweet, cold apple butter does amazing things when dolloped on top. 3) Serve with Cheddar Grits. If you've never made grits before, don't worry, they are so easy. The creamy, savory taste is amazing with the salty, sweet pork. Finally, 4) Serve with the Autumn Harvest Salad. Normally I only enjoy cold, crispy salads, but something about serving this on a warm plate with warm food, almost wilts the greens and the balsamic mixes with the sauce. It almost is like a vegetable side instead of a salad. Then there are the crunchy roasted/salted pumpkins seeds and shards of pecorino on top...
Have I adequately convinced you? After all of this you may think that this is a very complicated thing to make, but it couldn't be simpler. It is easy, with very little hands-on time, prep or chopping. It does require 1 & 1/2 hours of cooking/resting time, so allow for that. It might make a better Sunday Supper for most of us.
I made a very similar recipe last year with Pork Tenderloins (verses pork loin roasts). A Pork Loin (same as Pork Roast) is not quite as tender as a Pork Tenderloin, and has more fat (flavor). I still love that version and tenderloins, but this is a little simpler, and a bit more hearty with the Roasts... also, that was before I discovered the salting tip.
Roasted Pork Loin
with Apples & Onions
2-3 pound pork roast
1 tablespoon of salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 apples, cut into wedges
1 onion, cut into wedges
fresh thyme sprigs
1/2 cup of apples cider
Cheddar Grits (see below)
Autumn Salad (see below)
Coat pork roast with salt for 2 hours before cooking. Refrigerate. In a dutch oven (or something that can go from stove to oven, with a lid) sear the salted roast in olive oil for 3 minutes on each side until brown. Add apples and onions to the pot, scattered around the outside. Add apple cider and thyme. Cover with life and roast in the oven at 350 for 50-60 minutes (about 20 minutes per pound). Remove from oven and let rest for 20 minutes, covered. Take it out of the pan, slice it, then serve it on a platter with apples and onions surrounding. Pour over pan drippings/sauce. Serve with apple butter.
Sear the salted pork on all sides in a hot pan.
This was a great recipe to use our "organic" (wild?) apples we picked from my parents orchard. I didn't worry about peeling them, because I like the color the skin adds to the pan.
Throw in apples, onions, thyme and cider. Cover and bake for 20 minutes/pound of pork. This one took 50 minutes.
Meanwhile make the salad and grits.
Autumn Harvest Salad
1 apples, diced
handful of cranberries
handful of salted & roasted pumpkin seeds (store bought)
pecorina cheese, peels *see tip
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon of dijon
2 tablespoons of olive oil
sea salt & cracked pepper
Assemble greens, apples and cranberries in large bowl. Mix together dressing in a liquid measuring cup with pourer. Toss with dressing just before serving. Top with pumpkin seeds and lots and lots of pecorino cheese.
*Tip: I like to do the pecorino in big pieces with a vegetable peeler.
3 cups of water
1 cup of grits
1/2 cup of half and half
4 tablespoons of butter
1 cup of cheddar, shredded
1 tablespoon of sea salt
Prepare the grits by bringing water to boil, then lower heat and add grits. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring often. When grits are tender, add half and half, butter, cheddar and salt. Remove from heat and warm when ready to serve. You may need to add some milk or half and half to loosen back up.
Roast at 160 degrees on a meat thermometer after 50 minutes. Let rest for 20 minutes, covered.
Slice, then pour apples and onions and sauce around/over.
Garnish with some fresh thyme to add green to the platter.
Dollop on Apple Butter just before serving.
In honor of the Autumn Harvest Salad, I thought I would share some photos of Emma's first "harvest" with Gramp Gramp.