Roasted Pork Loin with Brussels Sprouts, Shallots and Garlic
- 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup grainy mustard
- Zest and juice of 2 lemons
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 pork loin, preferably center cut or relatively "even" in thickness from one side of it to the other
- Kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 12 cloves garlic, separated but not peeled
- 2 cups Brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed of any outer leaves
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 14 to 20 small shallots, peeled
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1/3 cup coarse breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
I love this recipe because it elevates a lean cut of pork and makes it rich and tender. Whenever I roast a whole cut of meat, I also love to include "built-in" vegetables. These vegetables end up with a wonderful flavor after cooking in the oven. It is important, however, to make sure the pork roast has enough air circulating around (and underneath it) as it cooks. Use a roasting pan fitted with a grill rack so the meat is slightly elevated as it cooks.
For the marinade: In a medium bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard, grainy mustard, the zest and juice from one of the lemons, white wine, fresh thyme, and the butter. Put the pork loin directly into the mixture, smoothing it on the meat like a paste. Refrigerate.
Cook's Note: The meat can stay in this marinade for a few hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. When the oil begins to smoke, remove the skillet from the direct heat. Remove the pork loin from the bowl, leaving behind any excess mustard mixture.
Reserve the mustard mixture. Season the meat on all sides with salt and gingerly place the pork loin in the hot oil. Put the skillet back on the heat and brown the pork, without moving it around, for 3 minutes. Use a pair of kitchen tongs (or two large spoons) to gently (but firmly) rotate the pork a 1/4 turn in the oil. Repeat this process turning the pork every 3 to 4 minutes. Cook's Note: The most important thing? Be patient. Get the other vegetables together as the meat browns.
Meanwhile, toss the garlic cloves, Brussels sprouts, and shallots in a bowl with the remaining olive oil, and white wine. Season with salt and the chili flakes. Place the vegetables evenly in the bottom of the roasting pan. When the pork is browned on all sides, remove it from the skillet and place it on a rack in the roasting pan. Take care to disperse the vegetables so the heat in the oven can circulate around and under the pork as it cooks. Pour any remaining marinade over the pork.
Finishing and serving the pork: Place the roasting pan in the center of the oven and cook for 35 to 45 minutes. Test the temperature in the center of the loin. Cook's Note: You are looking for an "ideal" internal temperature of 125 degrees F.
If underdone, cook for 5 to 10 additional minutes and test again. Remove the pork from the pan and allow it to "rest" for 10 minutes. Place the roasting pan on top of the stove. Put the heat on low and add the Sherry vinegar and the remaining lemon zest and juice. Stir to blend with the vegetables. Taste for seasoning, then sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.
Place the pork in the center of a platter (sliced or whole) and spoon the vegetables and any cooking liquid over the top.
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