It's impressive enough for company, but easy enough for a weeknight meal. The pork is juicy and the mustard and herb crust gives just the right amount of tang and spice. It's just lovely, and my go-to way to do a pork loin roast.
First, I start with the brine.
I keep the pork loin roast in the freezer zip-top bag that it was in, and I just add the marinade to that. - Just in case it leaks, I put the bag into a baking dish.
|My thawed pork roast from the freezer|
1/2 cup of salt (I know, it seems like a lot. There is a lot of meat that needs to get seasoned. We're not brining it for days upon days! Just 6 hours - overnight tops. I promise, it won't be too salty.) If you are using a small roast, you can use less sugar and salt; just keep them in equal amounts. And remember, the longer you brine the less salt you need.
2 bay leaves
about 1 tsp whole black pepper corns
and 4 cups of water.
I mix the brine well, making sure that all the meat is submerged.
I lay the roast down, and wrap the bag around - to make sure the brine is completely covering the meat.
A couple hours before dinner, I take the roast out of the fridge. Still in its brine, I let it sit on the counter for 1 hour. This will bring the roast closer to room temperature, and it will cook more evenly.
After the 1 hour is up, I preheat the oven to 375F and take the pork out of the brine. I pat it dry, so that I can get a good crust on the outside.
The brined and dried roast gets put into a hot cast iron skillet with a couple tablespoons of canola oil (or any high temp oil). I let it sit on each side for 3 minutes - letting it develop a nice brown crust over high heat.
In the first 3 minutes, I make my mustard and herb spread that will coat the roast. Any mustard will do. Today I'm using a whole grain Dijon mustard. 1/2 cup please (I used this whole jar).
To the mustard, I add 1/2 tsp onion powder,
1/2 tsp granulated garlic,
1 Tbsp dry thyme,
and 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) softened butter. (Everything's better with butter.)
I mix the past up with a fork, really working the butter in.
When it's all well combined, I set it aside for later.
The first 3 minutes are up, so the roast gets turned to the next side. Since the roast doesn't want to stand on its side by itself, I use my tongs to help support it and hold it there for the next 3 minutes. I know its inconvenient, but it's worth it to get the roast nice and brown. ("Brown food tastes good." - Anne Burrell)
Follow the guidelines stated above (brown each side for 3 minutes on medium high to high heat, supporting with tongs when needed). When the roast is browned all over, I brush the mustard paste all over the meat. - I do this in the baking dish I will be cooking the roast in. (Make sure the roast is up on a rack. The dish underneath doesn't matter so much. You just want it shallow enough to let the roast get a good crust all the way around, but it needs to have a lip on it to catch the juices. I used a 10x15 baking dish.)
When the roast is coated on every side with the mustard paste, it goes into the preheated 375F oven and will cook (with a probe thermometer inserted into the center of the roast, if you have one) for 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 125F.
When it comes out of the oven, and the internal temperature is 125F to 130F, I cover the dish with foil, but not completely sealed (this will make the crust not as crisp). The roast rests for at least 10-15 minutes. The temperature will continue to rise at this point. The final, rested temperature should be 145F.
Then all I do is slice it to order. :) It stays moist and tender. The mustard crust has mellowed some in the oven and the butter in the crust lends delicious flavor and juiciness.
Two slices for the hubby.
Here's the recipe:
Mustard and Herb Crusted Pork Loin Roast
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup salt
about 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
4 cups of water
1 center cut pork loin roast (even thickness from end to end)
2 Tbsp canola oil (or other high temp cooking oil)
Mustard and Herb "Paste":
1/2 cup grainy mustard
1/4 cup salted butter, softened
1 Tbsp dry thyme (or 6-8 sprigs fresh)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
Combine all the ingredients for the brine in a zip-top freezer bag, along with the roast. Brine for at least 6 hours or overnight in the fridge. 2 hours before dinner is to be served, take the roast out of the refrigerator and let sit on the counter, still in the brine, for 1 hour. After the hour is up, remove the roast from the brine and pat dry with a paper towel. Preheat oven to 375F. Heat up the oil in a cast iron skillet, over high heat. Brown the roast on all (4) sides for 3 minutes on each side.
While the roast browns, mix all the ingredients for the mustard and herb "paste." When the roast is brown on all sides, place it on a rack over/in a shallow baking dish and brush the "paste" all over the roast, completely covering it. Insert a probe thermometer in the center of the roast, and cook @ 375F for 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 125F-130F. Take the roast out, and loosely cover it with foil. Let it rest for at least 10-15 minutes, while the temperature continues to rise. The final temperature should be 145F. Slice and serve.