Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Year’s Pork Loin With Fruit, Polish Style

Witamy!  Happy New Year!

Poles love pork and enjoy it prepared in dozens of ways.  In our house we always enjoy a pork loin on New Year’s Day, swimming in caraway flavored sauerkraut, served with buttery mashed potatoes and bright, fresh, vegetables.  And we always stick a couple of hot dogs or brats in the sauerkraut for anyone at the table who prefers “tube steak.”

Pork loin roasts are extremely versatile but there are a few tips to keep them moist. 

* 1st, we always buy the kind that is tied together with butchers’ string. That means there are usually two pieces with a small layer of pork fat between the pieces which adds the goodness of flavor and moisture during roasting.  So don’t remove it. 

* 2nd, always cook your pork low and slow.
* 3rd, always brown the pork first to create an outside crust that will help the meat retain its natural moisture.
* 4th, be sure to use a quick-read digital meat thermometer -- the latest guideline from culinary scientists suggests that pork will be safe when the internal temperature reaches 145°F followed by a three-minute rest time, and is a little pink inside.  But frankly we like it better at 160°F.

* Finally, cook your roast in something moist...whether its sauerkraut, or apples, or prunes, and baste often with the liquid.  Your pork roast will always be a winner if you follow these simple tips. 

Here’s a recipe for a Polish favorite – Pork Loin with Fruit – it is often prepared with prunes but feel free to substitute any fruit you wish – apple slices or drained peaches work well.

Pork Loin with Fruit
Schab z Owocami

4 to 6 pound pork loin, boneless
2 tablespoons coarse salt
2 to 3 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons boiling water
2 tablespoon bacon drippings (or cooking oil such as canola)
12 ounces of pitted prunes or peeled apple slices or drained peach slices

Sprinkle the meat with salt and flour.  Brown thoroughly in a hot skillet in the drippings and set the roast into your roasting/braising pan.  Loosen the drippings in the skillet, whisk them together with boiling water and pour the mixture over the roast.  Bake at 325°F for about 40 minutes per pound.  Baste often.  For the last hour, add the prunes, or apples, or peaches, to the pan.  Remove from oven when the internal temp reaches 150°F.  Tent with foil and let it rest for 15 minutes.  

Make the sauce while the roast is resting.  Pour off the liquid, whisk in a little flour and bring to a low boil, whisking continuously.  Slice the meat into portion sizes and place on a warmed serving platter.  Strain the sauce through a sieve and pour over the sliced meat.  Garnish with the fruit. 

Serve with potatoes, red cabbage and dill pickles. Pair with a light red wine or a slightly sweet pinot gris.  Smacznego!

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