For the longest time, I've been scared of this cut of meat, the pork loin. I don't have fond "cooking" memories of it -- mine always come out dry, chewy and tasteless, that is why I haven't prepared it for almost a decade. But now that I am better cook, I aim to tackle this fear.
One will notice that this cut of meat always go on sale in your grocery store. I have reason to believe that like myself, most home cooks have the same unsatisfying experience. Then, about a couple of months ago, I got a voucher for a free dinner for four for new residents in our area from Whole Foods. I don't know why, since this had been my domicile for almost six (6) years now, but I am glad I did. So, free voucher in hand, I went to Whole Foods and from the choices of chicken, pasta or pork loin, I chose the pork loin just so I can prove myself that even Whole Foods can mess it up (and maybe feel a bit better about myself, haha!!). But surprise, surprise! Their pork loin is the best I can remember having in this lifetime! Even after reheating it in the microwave for 5 minutes at power level six (6), it was still succulent, tender and flavorful! Thus my faith in pork loin was renewed. I, however, have to make some cherry compote to go with it since I like to eat roasted or pan fried pork with a little glaze, compote or caramelized apples or pineapples on the side, it's just my thing.
Thus, when the pork loin went on sale in my local grocery store this week, I knew it's time to overcome my fear, and I did! The solution -- brine it for 24 hours, cook it up until the inside of the meat registers to 147 degrees and let it sit for at least 10 minutes before slicing it.
3 lbs. pork loin, brined* for 24 hrs
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 oranges, segmented
juice of (1) orange
3 T rosemary, chopped
For the Brine:
1/2 gallon water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
zest of 1 orange
2 T rosemary, chopped
2 T thyme, chopped
2 T sage, chopped
2 bay leaves, crushed
1 T red, green & black peppercorns
1/2 gallon ice water
Day before: Combine all the ingredients for the brine except for the ice water. Bring to boil, stirring to dissolve the salt & sugar. Set aside and cool. In a container big enough for the pork loin to be submerged and covered by the brine, combine the pork loin, brine and ice water. Cover with press and seal and let it marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Remove the pork loin from the brine and wash. Pat dry with paper towel. Return to the refrigerator until ready to use.
Combine maple syrup, orange segments, orange juice and rosemary in a saucepan. Bring to a boil then simmer until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Transfer half of the glaze in a bowl and set aside the rest for serving.
Transfer pork in a roasting pan and roast for 10 minutes in 400 degrees. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue roasting until internal temperature reaches 147 degrees (about an hour), basting every ten (10) minutes with the glaze. Remove from oven when done and transfer to a cutting board. Let it sit for 10 minutes before cutting.
Roasted Pork Loin with