As we all know, we are full on into the month of entertaining, of gathering our families around the table for warm meals so that we can escape the ever chillier days. For those of us who are not truly crazy and did not start planning Thanksgiving meals in October (okay, I might be slightly guilty of this because I already know exactly what I’m making for my family…although to be more truthful I have probably known since September, or wait, okay, I’ve known since I ate a bite of the most delicious pumpkin pie last year) it is time to start thinking about what we are going to feed people, and then what we are going to do when it happens all over again the next month (only plus cookies in December–yay!).
I’m not going to call this pork loin a Thanksgiving meal, because, unless you are like my grandparents and are known to have lasagna on Thanksgiving, we all know that only turkey is appropriate. But I will call this a perfect fall meal, for those cozy nights when our friends and family come over in their sweaters and it’s raining golden leaves outside. There are about a gazillion ways to cook a pork loin out there (really, I counted), but I think this one might just be the coziest because as it’s cooking, your house (or in my case, the in-law’s house) smells like apple cider, and everything instantly feels warmer.
Roasted Pork Loin with Cider
adapted from Anne Burrell
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 1 hour
Wait Time: 15 minutes
2 sprigs rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
2 sprigs sage, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 (3-4 lb.) pork loin
2 large onions, sliced
1 bundle thyme
3 bay leaves
1-2 quarts apple cider
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a food processor combine rosemary, sage, garlic, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt. Process until finely minced. Add enough olive oil to make a paste, continuing to process. (Alternatively, you can finely mince everything yourself and then combine it in a small bowl with olive oil to make the paste).
3. Place the pork loin on a plate or platter and blot dry with paper towels. Brush the paste on the pork loin.
4. Add onions to the bottom of a roasting pan. Add enough olive oil to coat the onions and season with a generous pinch of salt. Add the thyme and bay leaves. Pour in enough cider so that the onions are covered but so that it will not overflow once you add the pork roast (depending on the size of your dish about 1/2 to 1 1/2 quarts). Place the pork loin on top of the onions and cider.
5. Roast at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until the pork has a nice brown crust.
6. Lower the heat to 375 degrees and roast for 30 to 35 more minutes, until meat reads 150 degrees on an instant read thermometer. If the onions begin to burn, give them a stir. If your liquid begins to get low, add more apple cider. If the crust on your pork starts to get too dark, cover it with tinfoil.
7. Remove from oven and cover with foil. Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing. Serve warm in thick slices.