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When I find a small cut of meat, I have to purchase it, as it’s sometimes a bit hard to find a wee cut for myself. So when I saw this little 2-pounder pork loin with an ample strip of fat on top, I knew it had my name on it.
I love, love pork in any form. One of my favorites is organic, nitrate-free bacon. If you follow my blog posts every Wednesday, you know about the store up the road from me, Saylor’s, where they butcher their own meat, cure their own bacon, smoke various cuts and make the best homemade sausages – whether it be pork, chicken or turkey – not to mention the ground meats and bulk sausage.
So along with my little 2-pound pork loin, I picked up a 2-1/2 pound boneless leg of lamb for the Easter weekend, some peppered bacon and a pinwheel of Italian sausage with Asiago cheese. I saved the pork loin for the week after Easter to roast, with leftovers destined for sandwiches and pork loin stir-fry, to tide me over for the rest of the week.
The recipe below is my take on a Tuscan pork loin where a rosemary garlic paste does double duty on the outside of the loin, as well as on the inside. If you want even more pork flavor, you could wrap it in some strips of bacon, just to give it an extra boost of smokiness and moistness.
Change up the herbs to what you have on hand and serve the pork roast with a simple gravy made from the pan drippings or not…it needs no adornment because this roast is simply, just that good. Also, the herb paste is delicious rubbed all over lamb.
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Tuscan Roast Pork Loin with Pan Gravy
2-pound boneless pork loin
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus extra sprigs
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon fennel pollen or seeds (optional)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 to 1-1/2 cups chicken broth
- Season pork with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Heat oil in medium heavy skillet over moderately high heat and brown pork on all sides until a rich golden brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a small, shallow baking pan and let cool slightly.
- Meanwhile mash garlic with chopped rosemary, lemon juice, fennel pollen if using, and 1/2 teaspoon salt with a mortar and pestle or small food processor until a paste forms.
- Starting at one short end of the loin, use a paring knife to make a 1/3-inch diameter hole running through the center of the meat from one end towards the other, doing the same thing from the other end so that the two incisions meet in the center of the meat. Insert the rounded handle of a small wooden spoon into the hole, pushing it through from either end into the center. Next, take the paste and force three fourths of it through the hole…this is a lot easier to do than to explain…trust me. Rub the remaining one-fourth over the top of the meat.
- Top pork with some fresh rosemary sprigs and roast in the middle of a 350° F oven for about 25 to 35 minutes or until the pork registers 145°F on an instant-read meat thermometer when inserted in the center. Immediately transfer pork to a plate and keep warm, covered, for at least 15 minutes before slicing.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan with pan juices and whisk in flour. Cook flour for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Slowly pour broth into pan while whisking constantly until there are no more lumps. Let sauce simmer until thickened, whisking occasionally for 5 to 10 minutes. Season sauce, adding more broth, if desired.
- Slice pork and serve drizzled with sauce.
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