I love making a real home cooked dinner on Sundays. I’m already in the kitchen for hours anyways making lunches and dinners for the week so it’s become a part of my routine. I was inspired to make this lovely pork loin from a recipe I saw on the America’s Test Kitchen show last week. My recipe does have a lot of moving parts and takes time but it’s totally worth it. Paired with my classic mashed potatoes, this is definitely now one of our favorite Sunday feasts.
Domestocrat’s French Style Por Loin (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen)
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. minced garlic (or 6 garlic cloves sliced thin)
One 2 lb. boneless center-cut pork loin roast
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. Herbes de Provence
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 apples (peeled, cored, and cut into small cubes)
1 onion, chopped
4 pieces bacon (any variety you like, I use applewood smoked)
2.5 cups low sodium chicken stock
2 tbsp. cornstarch
Salt & pepper to taste
Start by browning the garlic and butter over medium heat. When the garlic has just browned turn off the heat and let the mixture cool.
While the garlic butter is cooling, prepare your pork loin! This is actually really easy to do and looks fancy later. Just trust me on this one.
Start with your pork loin, fat side up. Insert your knife a third of the way from the bottom and make one long, horizontal cut. Stop an inch or so from the edge.
Next, open the flap you just cut. Making a steady cut, slice into the pork halfway through the larger piece (on the left here). Make other horizontal cut, stopping again about a half an inch from the edge. The pork loin should then open like a book in three sections. I hope this all made sense, or at least the pictures were helpful!
Sprinkle salt and sugar evenly onto the pork and rub it into the meat. Then, take the cooled garlic butter and spread that out evenly as well.
When those steps are complete, fold the pork loin back together the same way you cut it apart. Remember to keep the fat piece on the outside. Tie it with meat or baker’s twine and it’s done.
The key to this loin being french style is lovely Herbes de Provence. You cannot skip this step! I bought mine from our local Penzeys Spices shop. If you didn’t know, Herbes de Provence is usually a hand-mixed combination of rosemary, cracked fennel, thyme, savory, basil, tarragon, dill weed, turkish oregano, lavender, chervil, and marjoram (i.e. super delicious and aromatic, buy some immediately).
Take the Herbes de Provence and rub liberally all over the outside of the loin.
In a heavy cast iron dutch oven (I used my 5.5 quart Le Creuset) heat the vegetable oil over high heat. When it’s hot enough (slightly smoking) drop in the pork loin and sear on each side. You’re looking for a lovely brown caramelization on each side of the loin.
When the searing is finished set the meat aside for a moment.
Chop the onion and apple into rough cubes (doesn’t need to be exact) and slice up the bacon.
In the same dutch oven, saute this mixture over high heat until everything crisps up.
When that’s done, pour on the chicken stock and stir.
When the apple and onion have become tender, nestle the pork loin down into the pot.
Cover your dutch oven with tinfoil (to create a tighter seal as recommended by America’s Test Kitchen) and then put on the lid.
Roast at 300 degrees for 45 minutes at minimum. The meat is fully cooked and ready to eat when the middle of the loin reads 140 degrees on a meat thermometer.
When the pork is cooked, removed it from the pot and set aside, tented with tinfoil on top, and let it rest for 20 minutes.
While the pork is resting, finish the sauce. Hydrate the cornstarch with an extra 1/4 cup of chicken stock.
Return the pot to the stovetop over low heat. Add the cornstarch (and any additional chicken stock, if you think it needs it) to the pot and stir continuously for 4-5 minutes. Taste for seasonings and adjust the salt and pepper to your liking.
After 20 minutes cut the rested pork into slices.
Plate each slice of pork with a generous spoonful of the sauce and a side of classic mashed potatoes, and you have one heck of a Sunday dinner.