Monday, September 26, 2011

Roast Pork with Plums & Apple Sauce

I have never been a fan of pork. I am all about white meat. Sometimes beef. But I never quite knew what to do with pork. However, I do like trying new things. So I took a traditional Polish recipe for preparing roast pork loin with plums and added my own twist to it (the marinade). It turned out quite delicious and will for sure land on our table quite regularly. It’s a keeper!

You have to be very careful not to keep the meat in the oven for too long, because then it will dry out. My perfect time was 1 hour 15 minutes. You also have to remember to regularly pour the sauce over the meat while baking. A good thing to know for this recipe is that you have to start preparing it a day in advance, since the meat should be left to marinate overnight, preferably. And remember to choose a nice piece of pork loin (you are going to need about 1 kg for this recipe). Make sure it is nice and pink, no fat, no bone.

U need (serves 4-6)
about 1 kg of pork loin
250 grams of dried plums
4 apples
6 cloves of garlic (in thin slices)
a handful of rosemary leaves
4 bay leaves
pork seasoning mix (which you can buy in any supermarket, or make one yourself with, for example: salt, red pepper, black pepper, white pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, dry mustard, paprika powder, dried sage, ginger powder, dried thyme, dried marjoram)
olive oil
about 2 glasses of apple juice
a knob of butter

How to make it
Start by preparing the marinade. I usually prepare marinades and dressings using a jar, because then you can simply throw in all the ingredients, close the jar and shake it around. Mix about 8 tablespoons of olive oil with two tablespoons of the pork seasoning mix, the sliced up garlic, the rosemary leaves and also throw in the bay leaves. If needed, add more salt.
Clean the meat, use paper towels to dry it. Make a hole in the middle all the way along the length of the meat using and thin, long knife and fill it with dried plums (use about half of them).
Then rub in the marinade. I recommend you use a large plastic food bag with zip lock for this - simply throw in the meat, pour in the marinade, close the bag and toss everything around/rub it in through the bag. Put the marinated meat (in the bag) in the fridge. Let it marinate for a few hours, preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to about 200°C.
Use an oven dish that you can also use for frying (for example, a Le Creuset-type casserole dish). Melt the butter in the dish, then place the meat in it, including all the excess marinade, and fry it all round until golden brown. Then add about 1.5 glasses of apple juice to create more sauce and put the meat in the oven (no lid). Keep it in the oven for about 1-1.5 hours. Remember to pour the sauce that is in the dish all over the meat every 15 minutes or so. About 15 minutes before the meat is done, add the leftover dried plums to the sauce.
While the meat is baking, start making the apple sauce. This takes about 15-20 minutes. Peel the apples, cut them up in pieces of about 2x2cm (roughly), put them in a pan, add half a glass of apple juice and let it all simmer (with lid) on low heat for about 15 minutes (stir occasionally), until you get a nice apple purée.

After switching the oven off, leave the meat to “rest” for about 15 minutes, so that all the juices spread out evenly and will not all come out when cutting the meat into slices. The sauce that has formed from the natural meat juices, the marinade and the apple juice can be served separately.
This is a perfect autumn/winter dish, filling the house with an incredible smell of sweet apples and roasted meat!

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