Friday, January 30, 2009

Roasted Pork Loin, Applesauce, and Mashed Potatoes

Last weekend I got a pork loin roast from Babes in the Wood, and cooked it on Tuesday, along with some applesauce and mashed potatoes. In case you haven't noticed, I am a huge supporter of raising animals in a sustainable way and feeding them what they want to eat naturally. This forest-fed pork is hands down the best pork that I've ever had. See my post on North Carolina Barbecue for more about that.

Ingredients:
  • Pork Roast
    • 1.6 lb boneless pork loin roast
    • Dry Rub
      • Kosher salt
      • Raw cane sugar (or brown sugar)
      • Cumin
      • Cloves
      • Garlic Salt
      • Black Pepper
      • Celery Salt
      • Paprika
  • Applesauce
    • Honey Crisp Apples (peeled and roughly cut)
    • Cinnamon
    • Cloves
    • Sugar
  • Mashed Potatoes
    • 2 lb bag of Red Potatoes
    • Garlic
    • 1/2 Roasted Red Pepper
    • Olive Oil
    • Butter
    • Milk
    • Rosemary
    • Kosher Salt
    • Black Pepper 
    • Paprika
    • Garlic Salt

Procedure:
  • Pork:  I started the pork by defrosting it in a sealed bag in hot water (I like that or fridge defrosting more than microwave), while I mixed up the rub.  Rubs generally have about half and half salt and sugar plus whatever seasonings you want - I used cumin, and cloves because they are my favorite pork seasonings. I also only use kosher salt or sea salt for rubs - they are much more subtle and taste better than table salt, and treat the meat better. I cut the fat layer mostly off the meat to make a pocket to add the rub. I rubbed the rub into every surface of the roast.  This was placed on the bottom rack over a pan and baked at 350 for about 1.5 hours.
  • Applesauce:  Homemade applesauce is really, really easy. I just cut up some apples, put them in a pan with a splash of cider and some cinnamon, cloves, and sugar. That was baked for about 30 minutes at 350, then ran through a food processor. 
  • Mashed Potatoes:  I boiled red potatoes with some rosemary and seasonings. I roasted garlic in olive oil and paprika at the same time the apples and roast were baking, for about 30 minutes. The potatoes, garlic, half a roasted red pepper I had leftover, butter, milk, salt, and pepper went into a food processor (in two batches).  

Resulting Deliciousness:
    The pork turned out pretty well. I prepared it in a more barbecue-ey way than a roast-ey way, but that's the mood I was in. I overcooked it a bit, so it was a tad tough, but wasn't dried out. The taste was great, but the rub was just a tad strong - any pork but the flavorful forest-fed stuff would have been overwhelmed by the cumin. Next time I would either cook it less, or cook it low and slow, and would have brined it if I had time. But, still really good. 
    The mashed potatoes were really, really creamy from the butter, milk, olive oil from the roasted garlic, and the use of a food processor instead of hand-mashing. They were really good, but unfortunately had a slight fridge taste to them from the week or two old roasted red pepper I put in. I have learned that it probably isn't good to throw a roasted pepper in a bag in the fridge - next time I have some leftover, I'll add some olive oil or vinegar to help hold the flavor.
    The applesauce was also a little below my standards. Last time I did this, I roasted them for over an hour and they were awesome, almost like apple butter, but not so sweet and heavy. This time, I didn't roast it as long, so I expected a lighter flavor, which was fine. The problem was the texture - the apples had gone through at least a couple improper freeze/thaw cycles. I could tell when I bought them that they had been through that kind of abuse, I was just too excited to see honey crisp apples in January and figured they would be fine for applesauce. It might have been better if I cooked them more, but in addition to the good applesauce texture, there was a grainy texture that was a bit of a put-off. Oh well, still good if not perfect.
    So, overall it was a nice meal, but there were some little things that kept it from being great.

2 comments:

GFE--gluten free easily said...

Hey Steve--We're both in a pork mood these days. :-) I just ate some leftover pork this evening. It really hit the spot. (I posted about that recipe the other day.)

One of these days I will try that Babes in the Wood pork for sure.

Not every meal is stellar, but yours sounds very good ... certainly lots of good stuff, ingredients you "know," and homemade meals always rock.

Steve said...

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being on a pork streak :). I have some ribs on the way, but after that I think I'll take a short break from pork. Very short.

Thanks,
Steve