The other day, I came across a blog with a recipe for pork loin stuffed with garlic and mint that looked ideal for a small roast I was already in the process of thawing. Sadly, I forgot to bookmark the link, otherwise I would share it with you here but, as it happened, I was unable to find any fresh mint at either of our stores. I still had the roast needing to be cooked in some fashion, though, and, since I had some fresh sage leaves left from a recent use, I decided to those with the roast along with apple and a little grainy mustard…
- 1 ½ lb. Pork Loin Roast
- 1 small green Apple
- 2 Carrots
- 1 medium Potato
- 1 large clove Garlic
- 1 sprig fresh Rosemary
- 1 sprig fresh Sage
- 2 tbsp. Sugar
- 3 tbsp. Oil
- 3 tbsp. whole grain Mustard
- Salt and Pepper
Peel the carrots and then cut the potato and carrots into irregular bit-sized chunks. Finely chop the garlic and Rosemary and then mix them with the vegetables in a large bowl along with 2 ½ tablespoons of oil and a pinch or two of salt and pepper.
Finely shred the sage leaves and mix the mustard with a tablespoon of sugar and the remaining half-tablespoon of oil.
Core the apple, cut it in half through the top and then slice the halves thinly. Sprinkle the slices with the remaining sugar and sprinkle with the shredded sage.
Make three cuts along the roast (going with the grain of the meat), about 1 – 1 ½ inches deep and insert apple slices into each cut. In a suitable roasting pan, make a bed of the remaining slices and lay the roast on top.
Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees and then slather the roast with the mustard mixture. Arrange the vegetables around the roast making sure that there is a lot of space between the individual chunks so that they brown evenly and roast rather than steam. Cook for 45 minutes or so, checking from time to time and stirring the vegetables as needed. Allow the roast to rest for a good 5 or 10 minutes when it is done and then slice for service.
As long as you are judicious with the heat, it is difficult to mess up roast vegetables, or a nice pork loin, so I was fairly confident that this experiment would turn out well. The apple and sage really flavored the meat nicely and the end result was tender and not too dry. I served it with a little extra applesauce in lieu of any sort of gravy and my wife and I enjoyed it very much. I thought about adding just a little clove or even cinnamon to the apple slices, and I still think that might have been nice but, in the end run, the roast was just fine without. I am not declaring this experiment a total success in the sense that no further tweaking is necessary, but it is definitely an idea worth playing with again…