Looking for something fancy, delicious, and easy to make for the holidays? Pork loin is a great option. It takes less than an hour and the results can be incredible. We made it for almost sixty guests two weeks ago at an early Christmas party and it was a hit. Plus, it caters to those who forgo dairy, gluten, eggs, nuts, corn, etc. Pork loin is delightful by itself, but it’s also a blank slate just waiting for some holiday cheer in the form of a tasty topping like sauteed apples, or in this case, cranberry sauce – we still had some left over from Thanksgiving.
Thank you Elizabeth for the wonderful photo. I was too busy running around in the kitchen trying to get the rest of the dishes ready. Plus my photo wouldn’t have looked this good anyways;)
- Pork Loin
- Sea Salt
- Lard or butter if you are cooking for a dairy friendly crown
- chopped onion, optional
1. Get a nice looking pork loin from your local farmer or butcher shop. How much? Enough for every member of your party to have a slice – probably about a 1/2 lb.
2. If you don’t like fat, you can trim some of it off. I did that and used it to make lard. But if I was making it just for us, I would have left it on because I love my meat with a nice layer of fat – maybe that’s just because I am a crazy foreigner who grew up eating lard on toast.
3. Dry the pork loin with a clean towel or paper towel, then apply salt and pepper to taste, and pat it down so it sticks.
4. Melt the lard or butter in a large pan.
5. On high heat, sear the loin on all sides. Its a little tricky to get it seared on all sides (it’s round) but don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect – this step is only for getting that nice caramelized flavor, and you’ll be pouring cranberry sauce all over it anyways. Tongs work best for this operation.
6. Roast in the oven at 400* until the center of the pork reaches 145*. It’s best to check it with a meat thermometer, as cutting into it at this temperature will cause the juices to run out. Depending on how large your roast is it should’t take more than 30 minutes unless you are cooking for sixty people than I would recommend about an hour or so.
7. You might say that USDA says 160*. Well, not anymore! In this article form New York Times, the USDA states that “it was lowering its safe cooking temperature to 145*, from the longtime standard of 160*. The new recommendation is in line with what many cookbook authors and chefs have been saying for years.” I would only do this if my pork was coming from a safe clean source. Then again, I wouldn’t eat pork not coming from a good source in the first place; trichinosis may be a risk of eating low quality pork, but consuming antibiotics, bad fats, and bad karma is a near certainty.
8. When the pork reaches 145*, remove from the oven, and let it rest in foil for 10 minutes before slicing.
9. Collect the pork loin drippings, pour into the cranberry sauce, and mix. This will give you sauce even more flavor and more volume – both great things for a sauce.
(Optional you can sautee a sweet onion and throw it in with the cranberry sauce if you want some extra flavor)
10. Slice it into rounds, lay out on a dish, and pour over some delicious bubbling cranberry sauce.
11. Garnish with some Italian Parsley to make it look even fancier!
12. Serve immediately with a delicious side of wild rice or mashed cauliflower.