Sunday, January 1, 2012

Brined Roasted Pork Roast

Pork and I have struggled over the years. Either it turns out dry, or it's too fatty. Either way, I have trouble eating it. So I decided to brine the pork roast I defrosted from my freezer. AB (Alton Brown) says you should always brine pork, so I found one of his simple brining recipes and went to town. This is step one.

1 cup kosher or coarse sea salt (do not used iodized salt)
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon mustard powder
2 cups cider vinegar, heated until steaming
1 pound ice cubes, about 4 cups

1. In a 1- or 2-gallon plastic covered container or heavy zip-top plastic bag, place the salt, brown sugar, peppercorns and mustard powder. Do not use prepared mustard. Pour in hot vinegar and swirl or stir with a slotted spoon to dissolve the sugar and salt completely. Allow the mixture to stand for 20 minutes at room temperature to develop flavor. Add the ice cubes and stir to melt most of the ice.

Put the pork into the container or bag, making certain that the meat is completely covered with the brine. (If using plastic bag, squeeze out all air.) Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to a couple of days. Remove and rinse brine off meat. Pat dry. Discard brine.

Now for the cooking. I'm going Julia Child here, because she is a genius for slow-cooking meat. On to step two.

Pork Roast
Brined pork roast
1 large carrot, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1/2 leek, sliced
3-5 cloves of unpeeled garlic
Fresh herbs tied with kitchen twine (rosemary, thyme)
1/2 cup dry white wine, chicken broth or water
2-4 tbs coconut oil or olive oil
2 tbs butter

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a large casserole or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, sear the pork roast on all sides until brown and crusty.


2. Remove pork from pot. Drain all but 2 tbs of fat. Add the vegetables and herbs and two tbs of butter. Stir and put the lid on the pot and cook slowly for 5 minutes.


3. Add the pork back to the pot and turn the heat up. Put the lid on and heat until the pork sizzles. Put the dutch oven in the preheated oven (with the lid on) until the internal temperature reaches 160.

4. Remove pork to a serving platter and let rest. Put the dutch oven on a burner at medium heat. Remove the herbs. Add the white wine and bring to a boil. Boil vegetables and liquid until it has reduced down to one cup. Mash the vegetables into the liquid. Strain into a gravy boat. Serve over pork.

I served mine with peas, corn and an Israeli couscous dish made with toasted slivered almonds, raisins and cinnamon. Yum!

Israeli couscous

Micah went back for three portions of the meat. Everyone loved how moist, tender and flavorful the pork was - brining is the way to go!

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