A Cottageville reader wanted to shake loose some recipes for preparing a tasty pork loin roast.
In case there's any confusion, a pork loin roast and tenderloin are different cuts of the pig. A loin roast comes from the area between the shoulder and the beginning of the leg. It typically weighs 2 to 4 pounds and may be sold deboned or bone-in. (Having the meat on the bone promises more flavor and juice but is trickier to carve.)
The tenderloin is a thin, long, much smaller muscle from the end of the loin. Each weighs about a pound and they are generally packaged in pairs.
Sometimes you'll see a loin roast that includes a piece of the tenderloin, which will be the rounder, dark part.
Loins do best when roasted or barbecued, but not stewed, as they tend to fall apart under moist heat. Tenderloins are excellent for roasting, grilling, sauteing as medallions and the like. Both cuts are quite mild in flavor and take well to spice rubs, marinades, stuffings or sauces.
First, here is a loin roast recipe per the reader's request. This recipe was one of five winners in the recent Lee Brother Your Holiday recipe contest sponsored by the S.C. Department of Agriculture. The Lees are Charleston's own Matt and Ted, who are brothers, writers, food celebrities and much more.
This recipe by Beaumont Riley was declared South Carolina's Best Entree in the contest.
1 (2 1/2- to 3-pound) boneless pork loin roast (or 6 boneless pork chops, 1 1/2 inches thick)
1 bottle dry red wine, such as Merlot
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 stick cinnamon
2 firm apples, diced into 1-inch cubes
1 pack prunes (24 count)
Kosher salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
5 to 10 sprigs rosemary
1/4 cup olive oil, divided use
Cut pork roast into steaks, about 1 1/2 inches per person. Marinate in red wine with vegetables, garlic, peppercorns, cinnamon, half of the diced apples and 12 of the prunes for 2 to 3 hours.
Remove pork from marinade, pat dry and refrigerate. Bring marinade to a boil, reduce heat and reduce by half. Strain liquid, squeezing out flavor from the vegetables, into another saucepan. Return to heat and reduce further until you have 1 1/2 to 2 cups liquid. (If the sauce seems too thin, thicken by adding flour, 1 teaspoon at a time.)
Add the remaining apple cubes and prunes to sauce about 10 minutes prior to serving.
Season the pork steaks with salt and pepper. In a hot frying pan with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the rosemary sprigs, sear and brown the steaks on one side. Add more oil to the pan if necessary during frying or if frying in batches.
Turn steaks, placing rosemary on top of the meat, and cover the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook 6 to 8 minutes more, or until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 135 degrees. Let pork steaks rest about 5 minutes before serving (internal temperature should rise to 140 degrees).
Serve pork topped with sauce and lightly cooked fruit.
Mary Larry of Charleston is a faithful cheerleader of "Popular Greek Recipes," published by the Ladies Philoptochos Society of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. This recipe sounds tasty but note that it calls for tenderloin.
Makes 6 servings
2 pounds pork tenderloin
2 tablespoons butter
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup sliced onions
1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms, optional
1 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint, optional
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
12 tsakistes, pitted (see cook's note)
Cook's note: Tsakistes are green olives, cracked and marinated in herbs and brine and usually found in stores with Greek products.
Cut pork tenderloin into 1-inch crosswise slices. Cut slices in half. Brown meat in butter with garlic and almonds. Season with salt and pepper. Add onions and mushrooms. Saute until tender. Stir in wine, mint and parsley. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until done. Add olives and heat thoroughly.
Variation: Omit slivered almonds and tsakistes olives. Slice 12 green olives stuffed with almonds and add with 2 tablespoons lemon juice to cooked tenderloin. Heat to blend flavors.
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