I don’t know what happened to fall, but last week it was like winter swept in. And seeing as how I have about zero tolerance for the cold, I was not prepared. I went outside and picked the rest of the decent basil off my plant and made pesto that I used for pizza (and put the rest in the freezer for later in the winter). We turned the fireplace on and I pulled blankets out and we turned the heat on (and waved sheet pans at the smoke detector when the acrid smell of the burning dust caused it to go off for a good five minutes).
And now, now that I have done all of this, now that I have rearranged the closet so that my sweaters are in the front, now that I have put my summer shoes up, now that I have swept the patio from the leaves of our dying tree (really, that needed to happen no matter what though), the weather is deciding to warm up. It is supposed to be almost 80 degrees today, the day before Halloween. But such is Alabama weather. I remember Halloweens where I needed my winter coat (much to my chagrin because it ruined my pretty ballerina costume) and Halloweens where my long sleeves made me hot. We never know one year to the next.
This is one of those tucking into autumn kind of meals, a warm plate of comfort, and a meal that seems just as comfortable to cook. Browning meat, sauteing vegetables, letting it braise for hours. It will make your house smell like pure fall by evening (no matter what the weather outside decides to do).
Pomegranate Pork Loin
adapted from Dinner A Love Story
This is so easy to make and smells divine while it’s cooking. The pork cooks so it is perfectly tender, and the bite of the pomegranate juice gives the perfect subtle but unexpected flavor. Also, I know it involves cabbage, and as someone who generally doesn’t like cabbage, trust me on giving this a try.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours, 20 minutes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 (2.5 to 3 lb.) boneless pork loin, patted dry
1 large onion, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice (optional)
Dash of soy sauce
1 cup red wine
1 cup pomegranate juice
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
1. Heat a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the oil. While the oil is heating, liberally salt and pepper the outside of the pork loin. Add to the pot and brown on each side, about 5-6 minutes per side.
2. Once the pork is golden brown, remove it from the pot and set it aside on a plate. Add the onion to the pot (and the spice if you’re using it), along with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
3. Add the pork back to the pot, then add the dash of soy sauce, the wine, pomegranate juice, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and let simmer for 2-3 hours, flipping it halfway through. If the liquid gets low during cooking, add more juice or wine or stock (you want the pork to remain mostly submerged while it cooks).
4. Before serving, remove the pork from the pot and set aside. Add the cabbage to the pot, increase the heat, and cook for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, slice/shred the pork. Serve warm with braising liquid spooned over the top and cabbage nestled to the side.