Thursday, November 4, 2010

Herb crusted pork loin

I really wanted to blog some sweet potato muffins we made the other day.  I've had the recipe cook sitting by my computer for a few days now waiting for me to type it up.  Even had to make myself notes in the magazine to remember what I did.  Of course, go to blog it and it is gone.  I can't find my shopping list for tomorrow either.  Sooo frustrated.  Aarg.
So, instead, I'm going to type up tonight's dinner, and then hopefully if I'm speedy a dinner from last week that I'm still behind on.  Both are from a book I have checked out of the library right now called The best of America's test Kitchen - 2008.  It is a pretty neat book.  I wish I had all day to just read it because it has a lot of good information.  Each recipe goes through and explains why it is a best recipe.  There are tips and pictures (mostly black and white, but they are helpful.)  Anyway, I love the book.  It is a great reference.  However, I am not a gourmet cook, nor do I want to be, and this book falls a little more on the gourmet side to me in terms of time to prepare the dishes.  Both recipes I tried were rather time consuming.  I'd only judge both about a 4, DH may go higher though.
Lets start with the pork from tonight.  This may have been better if I had taken the time to brine the pork.  No excuses why I didn't.  I thought it was probably and "enriched" pork loin.  Seems like a lot of meat is that way now, and I had got it on sale and not paid attention, so I figured it was.  I couldn't find anywhere on it that said it was enriched.  Well, I was supposed to have let it soak in a brine of 1/2 cup salt in 2 quarts of water for an hour, but I didn't.  I also didn't end up having a full 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese.  Recipe called for 1 ounce, but then wanted that to be 1/2 cup.  I had over an ounce, but it wasn't 1/2 cup. I also had a larger pork roast - recipe called for 2 1/2 -3 lbs, mine was closer to 4. (3.75 or so I think.)  Being so big, it ended up taking the roast a good 1 1/2 - 2 hours to cook.  Plus the prep time.  I would suggest the smaller roast size.  It would cook a bit faster, and you would have the right amount of Pesto mixture to cover it.
Here is the recipe the way I made it.  It was close to the original.  Check out the book for the original.  The pictures were helpful.
Bonus -3 pictures even if they are a week and a half after I made this.  The first is after I seared it in the pan - before the topping so you can see the crosshatch pattern.  The second is when it came out of the oven, and the third on the plate to see the filling.


  • 1 boneless center-cut pork loin roast (2 1/2 -3 lbs)
  • salt
  • 1 slice sandwich bread, quartered (I used my wheat bread)
  • 1 ounce Parmesan, grated (go with 1/2 cup - I had about 6 Tablespoons)
  • 1 shallot, minces (about 3 Tablespoons)
  • 4 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • pepper
  • 1/3 cup packed fresh parsley or basil (I used basil and a bit more)
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh thyme (I used 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 garlic clove 
  1. (You were supposed to leave the fat cap on the pork.  I couldn't make myself leave it all so I cut off most but not all of it.)  Lightly score the fat side making a 1/4 inch crosshatch pattern.  Then cut a pocked in the roast.  {I didn't do this, but I would next time-disolve 1/2 cup salt and 1/4 cup sugar in 2 quarts of water.  Submerge roast, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.  Rinse roast under cold water and dry thoroughly with paper towels.}
  2. Adjust oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat to 325.  Pulse bread in food processor until coarsely ground.  Move to another bowl.  Dice shallot in the food processor and add it to the bread crumb bowl.  Add 2 Tablespoons Parmesan, 1 Tablespoon oil, and 1/8 teaspoon of salt and pepper.  Toss mixture with a fork until evenly moistened.
  3. Add Basil, thyme, rosemary, garlic, remaining 6 Tablespoons Parmesan (I had 4), 3 Tablespoons oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to the food processor and process until smooth.  
  4. Spread 1/4 cup herb paste inside the roast and tie (I didn't tie, and I really had no problem. I also didn't measure the herb paste, but it didn't seem like a full 1/2 cup.  I thought that the recipe wanted you to put 1/2 of the mix inside the roast and 1/2 on top, but I wanted a good layer inside and my roast was larger than called for, so I put more than 1/2 of the paste inside. I would definitely either make a smaller roast next time or make more herb paste.)  Season the roast with pepper (salt as well if you didn't do the brine.)
  5. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the roast fat side down and brown on all sides.  Move the roast to a wire rack set in a foil lined baking sheet.
  6. Trim the twine (if you used it.)  Spread remaining herb paste over the roast and top with the bread crumb mixture.  Bake until the thickest part of the roast registers 150.  (book says 145, but I have never done roast that low.  It says that it will raise to 150 in it's rest.  Mine came out at 150, but fell to 148, then back up to about 152 and it rested a bit longer than 10 minutes.)  Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes (we covered ours with foil for the rest.)

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