As a native Southern Californian, I have to admit that I have been spoiled by our climate. We get our share of heatwaves and cold spells, but most of the time we have even temperatures that allow for nearly year-round outdoor activity. But once the temperatures dip a little, and I say that knowing very well that a Southern California high temperature reading of 68 degrees elicits a good, hearty belly laugh from most, I am excited to begin roasting and braising meats that have become synonymous with my fall and winter menus.
But in typical fashion, Mother Nature has her own plan. She’s like a fickle school girl who can’t make up her mind who she wants to be friends with each week. It’s her on-again off-again friendships that quite often leave me confused as to which season we’re really in. So I’ve decided to ignore her behavior and continue on with the flavors of fall even though she seems to like summer more this week. And after one bite of this meal, I know that Fall will be back in her good graces soon enough.
Place a 3 pound pork loin roast into a roasting pan and make several small slits into which you will place thinly sliced pieces of garlic.
Pat pork with chopped fresh rosemary, pepper and a little salt. You don’t want to overdo the salt because there will be salt in the sauce too. Place into a 400 degree F preheated oven for approximately 1 hour or until an instant-read thermometer reads 140 degrees F.
Meanwhile, get started on dicing the fresh pears for the sauce. You will need about 4 or 5 pears and any kind will work as long as they are firm.
In a large saute pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add diced pears and one large clove of minced garlic. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pears are tender. The cooking time will depend on the ripeness of the pears. Somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes should be enough, just don’t let the pears get mushy. Set aside and wait until the roast is done. You’re going to add the pears to a simple sauce made by deglazing the roasting pan with red wine and adding red currant jelly, soy sauce, red wine vinegar and cayenne pepper. Sadly, my daylight and dinner prep time didn’t work to my advantage, and I have no shot of this step.
While the roast continues to cook, begin on the sauteed cabbage side dish. It is so easy and so delicious. Simply slice fresh green cabbage into coleslaw-like shreds. I used half of a medium sized head which is enough to feed my family of 4 with a small amount left over.
Into a heavy pot over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and add the cabbage. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Saute and stir occasionally until cabbage is wilted but still retains some crunch, about 10 to 12 minutes. Don’t allow the cabbage to take on too much color. You want it to be green. Remove from heat.
When the roast is done (I removed mine at 135 degrees F tented it with foil and allowed it to carry-over cook on the counter), remove it from the pan, tent it with foil and allow to sit for 10 minutes while you make the sauce. In the roasting pan, remove the fat and any remaining bits of garlic from the roast. Place the roasting pan on a burner over medium-high heat until the pork drippings are sizzling. Pour the red wine in and deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom to bring up all the bits. Bring to a boil and allow to reduce by half. Add the red currant jelly, soy sauce, vinegar, and cayenne pepper. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed. Boil sauce for a few minutes until it thickens. Pour the sauce into the skillet containing the pears and heat until the pears are warm. Cut the pork roast, spoon the pears over the pork and serve immediately.
Pork Roast with Spicy Pears
Recipe adapted from Simply Classic: A New Collection of Recipes to Celebrate the Northwest
1 pork loin roast, about 3 pounds
2 medium cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
4 cups peeled and diced pears
1 large clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons red currant jelly
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Pinch of cayenne pepper, or to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. With a small, pointed knife, make several small slits in surface of pork roast. Insert garlic slices into the slits. Pat pork all over with chopped rosemary and black pepper. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Place in a dry, heavy roasting pan. Roast pork uncovered, for about 1 hour or until an instant-read thermometer reads 140 degrees F.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the pears and minced garlic. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pears are tender, 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the ripeness of the pears. Be careful not to overcook, or pears will become mushy. Set aside.
Remove the pork from the roasting pan. Cover with foil and allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Spoon the fat off the drippings in the roasting pan. Discard any garlic that remains in the pan. Place the roasting pan on a burner over medium-high heat. When the pork drippings are sizzling, deglaze the pan by poring in red wine. Boil, stirring often and scraping the bottom of the pan with a spatula to incorporate all browned bits, and reduce wine by half. Add the red currant jelly, soy sauce, vinegar, and cayenne. Season with salt to taste. Add pepper if necessary. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes, until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pour the sauce over the pears; cook over medium heat just until pears are heated through.
Cut the pork roast into 1/2-inch slices. Spoon the pears and sauce over the pork and serve.
1/2 head green cabbage, sliced
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
Melt butter in large pot or skillet over medium heat. Add sliced cabbage, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is wilted yet retains a bit of crunch, about 10 to 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.