Molasses-Cured Pork Loin with Apples
- SERVINGS: 8
This juicy pork is delicious served with watercress tossed with a lemony olive oil dressing. Allow the meat to marinate in the brine overnight.
- 2 quarts water
- 1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1/3 cup coarse salt
- 1 1/4 teaspoons cracked black pepper
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 2 whole cloves
- One 4-pound pork loin, trimmed of fat
- Table salt and finely ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tart crisp unwaxed apples, cut into 16 wedges each and cored
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- In a large saucepan, combine the water with 1/4 cup of the molasses and the sugar, garlic, coarse salt, cracked pepper, cinnamon, coriander and cloves and bring to a boil. Let cool completely, then refrigerate until completely chilled.
- Put the pork in a medium bowl and add the brine so that the meat is submerged. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Remove the pork from the brine and pat dry. Season generously with table salt and finely ground pepper. Set the pork on a rack in a roasting pan and roast for about 50 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the center registers 145°. Transfer to a platter, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the apples and cook over moderately high heat, tossing, until just tender, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apples to a bowl. Add the vinegar and the remaining 1/4 cup of molasses to the skillet and boil to a syrupy glaze, about 3 minutes. Pour the glaze over the apples and toss to coat.
- Carve the pork 1/3 inch thick and arrange on a platter. Add the pork juices to the skillet; bring to a boil, about 1 minute. Pour the juices over the pork, spoon the glazed apples around the meat and serve.
The off-dry flavors of a West Coast Gewürztraminer echo the mildness of the pork and the sweetness of the molasses and apples.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.