Herb-Roasted Pork Loin | Kale & Squash Sauté | Cider Gravy

October is almost over, so I’m starting to test different ideas for Thanksgiving. Since I don’t have any interesting stories to tell this week, I figured I would change the style of this week’s post to include a few pictures to help you follow my process. Change is hard though–I forgot to take pictures at the very beginning, but I didn’t notice until I finished cooking. Missed opportunities aside, I hope the pictures help you follow me a little easier, and if it helps, I’ll try to write more methods posts like this one in the future. Let me know!

I was pretty lazy with the marinade this time around. First, I seasoned the meat generously with salt, pepper and coriander. Then, I crushed some garlic with salt,  mixed it into vegetable oil, and added a handful of sage and rosemary, and poured it over the meat, and stored it fat-side down in a ziplock and left it in the fridge overnight. The salt, and oil with help draw garlic and herb flavors into the meat, and lay the foundation for the gravy that will finish the dish.

Once it had marinated overnight, I brushed off all the garlic and herbs, and set them aside until after the meat was seared.

Once I got a nice golden sear on all sides, I poured on the garlic and herb mixture, covered the skillet with foil, and placed it directly in the oven at 425 degrees for the first 10 minutes, then lowered the heat to 350 to cook until it was medium-well in the center–it would be more precise to give you a target temperature, but I used a little shortcut to estimate doneness: if you put the tip of your ring finger and your thumb together, the area right under your thumb is roughly as firm as the center of a medium-well steak. Of course, you could always cook this all the way to well done, but it may dry out when you try to reheat it the next day.

Once the meat is cooked to your liking, remove it from the skillet, cover it with foil, and let it rest on a heat-safe cutting board for around ten minutes before you carve it–just enough time to make the gravy! Don’t waste all the residual flavor the meat and herbs left behind. Put that skillet back on the heat, stir in a little chicken stock, cider vinegar, and scrape the fond off the bottom. By now, you’re probably looking at something like this:

Continue to stir until the liquid starts to simmer, and reduce. By now, it’s safe to strain out the herbs, and garlic–they’ve served us well–and add flour dissolved in a small amount of water, chopped parsley, and a little cold butter. The gravy will thicken, and be ready to serve.

You can find the full recipe below, and as always…

Let’s cook.

You’ll need:

1 Pork Loin Roast, trimmed

5 Garlic Cloves, crushed

5 Rosemary Sprigs

5 Sage Leaves

3 Cups Kale, rinsed and chopped

3 Cups Butternut Squash, sliced thinly

1 Cup Parsely, chopped

2 Cups Chicken Stock

1/4 Cup Cider Vinegar

1 Tbs Flour

1/4 Cup Water

1 Cup Dried Cranberries, chopped

3 Tbs Vegetable Oil

2 Tbs Cold Butter

1 Tbs Coriander

2 Tbs Black Pepper

1.5 Tbs Salt (or to taste)

  1. Pat the pork loin dry with paper towels, then season with salt, pepper, and coriander, and place in a large ziplock bag. Mix vegetable oil, crushed garlic, rosemary, sage in a bowl, then pour mixture over the meat,  remove excess air, and seal. Store in the refrigerator for at least eight hours. Remove bag from the fridge, and let stand on the counter for one hour before cooking.
  2. Sauté squash in a lightly oiled pan on medium heat until it begins to soften, season with salt/pepper, then stir in crushed garlic and chopped kale, and continue cooking until the kale wilts. Remove from the heat.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place a cast iron skillet (or other heavy pan) on medium-high heat with a tablespoon of oil. Remove pork loin from the bag, and reserve the garlic and herbs. Sear meat on all sides until golden brown, then pour the garlic and herbs from the marinade into the skillet. Cover with foil, then place in the oven. After 10 minutes, lower the heat to 350, and cook until medium-well–about 30 minutes.
  4. Remove meat from the skillet, and place on a heat-safe cutting board, and cover with foil. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Remove remaining herbs and garlic, place the skillet back on medium heat, then deglaze with chicken stock, and cider vinegar. Mix flour with 1/4 cup of water, then stir into the pan, and simmer until the gravy thickens. Stir in cold butter, and chopped parsley, and taste for seasoning.
  5. Plate and serve.

Done.

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