Recipe Project #83-84: Pork Loin two ways

Mr. Husband came home with a club pack of pork loin last week, which meant four small loins packaged up together. The weather has finally (finally!) turned cold this year, and so the conditions are right for roasts and braises. We decided not to freeze any of this, but instead cook and repurpose it across multiple meals. Since they were vacuum sealed in pockets of two loins, I cooked them two ways about five days apart. They’re both wonderful served straight with a vegetable the first night, and then repurposed in various stir-fries, ramens, sandwiches, and noodle preparations until they’re gone. As you can see, we have a very high pork tolerance.

Orange-Ginger Braised Pork Loin
Pork Loin
2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
chicken broth
white wine
fresh garlic according to taste
fresh ginger according to taste
fresh or dried chiles (optional)

The first is an incredibly easy preparation I stole from Mr. Husband, who makes oven-ribs this way. First, I pre-heated the oven to 350 and broke out my largest oval french oven to sear the pork in a bit of peanut oil over high heat. While it was browning, I finely diced a whole head of garlic and finely grated a rounded tablespoon or so of ginger. I also diced up two of the tiny but volcanic Thai chiles we keep in a bag in the freezer. Once the pork was browned on all sides, I added another small glug of peanut oil and threw in the ginger and garlic, stirring until they became fragrant.

Then I threw in the diced chile and BLAMMEDY. I had assumed this would be an “avert your face” moment of the sort I’m used to when cooking with hot peppers and strong spices, but these chiles (with their seeds intact) gassed the entire first floor of the house. Since it was impossible to walk away from the pan lest things burn, I soldiered on through tears and sneezes. You, however, should not gas yourself. You can use a couple of dried chiles arbol, red pepper flakes, Rooster chile-garlic sauce, or nothing at all. Me, I’ll probably do exactly the same thing again since it turned out so well, but I’ll open the windows and turn on the range hood first.

After making the aromatics, well, aromatic, deglaze with a good long glug of chicken broth and a glug of whatever white wine is available. Add the orange juice and soy sauce, swirl everything around, and return the pork to the pan. Bring to a simmer, cover, and throw the whole thing in the oven for a couple of hours or until it’s fork-tender.

Barbara Kafka’s Garlic Roast Pork Loin from Roasting: A Simple Art

2 1/2 – 3 1/2 pound boned and rolled pork loin (8-10 inches long)
4 cloves garlic, smashed, peeled, and cut lengthwise into thin slivers
A few sprigs of rosemary, optional
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup wine, for deglazing

Place rack in center of oven. Heat oven to 500F.

With the point of a paring knife, make 1/2 inch slits toward the center all around the roast. Insert the garlic in the slits, accompanied by a needle of rosemary, if using. Rub roast generously with salt and pepper. [I trussed two loins together after rubbing salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary between them, then proceeded with the directions above.]

Place roast and bones, if available, in a roasting pan just large enough to hold them. Roast for 45 to 50 minutes, or until meat reaches an internal temperature of 140F. The meat might still be slightly pink, but this is fine. Don’t overcook the roast, or it will be dry and unappealing.

Remove roast and bones to a platter. Let meat rest before slicing across, while preparing the sauce. Snip off strings. Juice will collect better in a platter than on a cutting board.

Place the pan on top of the stove over high heat. Add wine and let come to a boil. Scrape pan with wooden spoon to remove glaze that will flavor sauce. Cook until reduced by half. Serve in a sauceboat or bowl along with the roast.

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