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Monday, September 6, 2010

Not your Average Labor Day Food: Recipe

I admit it was tempting to get some burgers and dogs and fire up the BBQ.  But then I wouldn't be writing this! Recently I purchased at the market a package of 5 or 6 pork loin center cut chops together with the remaining center cut piece - whole.  I was smart...I froze the whole piece for another day and apparently today was that day. 

I thought I would braise the meat but it was warmer outside than I had originally thought and the idea of putting my oven on for longer than 30 minutes was terrible.  So I slow cooked it on top of the stove and the outcome was awesome!  This piece of meat was just enough that we actually didn't have a single left over piece.  Everyone ate, the flavors were rich and complex but not complicated. Simple fare served with crusty bread and rosemary olive oil, stuffed tomatoes and a salad of cherry tomatoes and spicy giant green olives and basil.  As you probably know by now, I'm a huge fan of the fix-it-and-forget-it meal so this was a crowd pleaser and a cook's delight! By the way, I'm not sure you'll need a knife for this - it was like slicing butter!

Pork Roast with Vegetables and Herbs
2 lbs. center cut pork loin, patted dry
1 cup flour
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp. butter, unsalted
1 tsp. olive oil
4 large fresh sprigs each of Thyme and Rosemary, separated
2 large fresh basil stems
1/3 cup Sherry
1 2/3 cup red wine
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 large celery ribs, center only
1 large shallot
1 medium onion

In a food processor, pulse together shallot, onion, celery and carrots until pieces are very finely chopped. Set aside.

On a plate, mix flour, salt and pepper. Coat the pork with flour mixture until all sides are well covered.  In a large pot with a well fitting lid, melt butter and 1 tsp olive oil over medium high heat until foamy.  Add the pork to the pot and deeply brown all sides, about a total of 8 minutes, turning often if butter begins to turn dark brown. Remove pork from pot and set aside on a plate. To the pot, add the carrot mixture and saute about 10 minutes, stirring often.  Add in the Sherry and mix well. Add the pork and any collected juices back into the pot. Turn the meat several times and add the wine. Turn meat, again, several times.  Spoon the liquid over the pork several times - if the carrot mixture remains on top of the pork, that's OK. Add to the pot 1 fresh basil stem and 2 fresh thyme and rosemary sprigs.  Cover the pot and cook on very low simmer for about 2 hours and 15 minutes.

With about 20 minutes of cooking left add the remaining herbs to the pot and mix. Cover again and finish cooking.  Once cooking is complete, remove the pork and allow it to stand about 5-7 minutes before slicing. Spoon the sauce over the meat and serve.

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