Eating from the freezer and clearing out the fridge are fashionable these days. Here’s a meal that did both. A few months ago, I bought a massive pork loin and cut it into 1.5 lb pieces for the freezer. I also had the remnants of a bag of spuds going soft, about a pound of brussel sprouts wilting in the back of the fridge, and a wrinkly Honeycrisp apple.The only really obscure thing I needed (and of course have because why not – you never know when you might have to make your own gin) was juniper berries. I got them at Bulk Barn – you will not regret having them in your flavour arsenal (also, get preserved lemon peel to have lemony flavours without having to have fresh citrus all the time).
The favoured way of preparing it in my household is a riff on ‘Lombata di Maiale al Forno’ (Pork Loin with Juniper and Rosemary) from this well-loved cookbook I bought when I was in my early 20s and have cherished all of my adult life. Such good, pure cooking.
The pork is roasted and then ‘stewed’ on the burner with pureed tomatoes and butter. So tender and juicy…I tossed the spuds in the roasting pan with the pork, and then into the dutch oven. While the pork and potatoes were stewing, I cut the tidied-up sprouts in half, chopped the apple, tossed them with some olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Set them to broil for 5 minutes.
That was it. All done. And all eaten.
Pork Loin a la Marcella Hazan
Oven at 475F for 45 minutes or more, depending on size of roast.
Pork loin (recipe calls for 3lb, I had 1.5lb)
In the mortar: teaspoon of rosemary, some juniper berries (6 or 8), some cracked pepper and coarse sea salt. Grind that all up and pat onto the pork. Top with a few daubs of butter.
Smear the bottom of the roasting pan with a bit of butter, then plop the pork down in the middle. I tossed the spuds in around the sides of the pork in a single layer. Turn the pork loin once so that all of the exterior gets a good crisping.
Transfer the pork and spuds to a pan that is safe for the cooktop if you don’t have a dutch oven. Add in 1 cup of tomato puree and another large daub of butter – about the size of a walnut. Put the lid on and let it stew at low-ish heat for about 30 min. (Marcella’s instructions are for 1.5 hrs but I never get started in time to let it cook that long).
Slice it and serve it.
Apparently it would also be good as a cold meat for sandwiches, but we’ve never had any left over.