Friday, September 16, 2011

Rosemary-Garlic Crusted Pork with Quick Applesauce

I bought a rosemary plant earlier this year, and it has done nothing but thrive. It smells lovely, and I thought it was about time I use it to its full potential.

I just love rosemary. It's one of my favorite herbs. If I could make my house rosemary scented, I would probably do it.

As you can see, the stems are pretty thick and woody. I stripped the rosemary leaves off and discarded the stems.

The leaves went in the food processor, along with some garlic.

I also bought a thyme plant. So I threw in some fresh thyme, too.

You could use dried herbs. Just be sure to use 1/3 the amount, because the flavor gets more concentrated.

I poured in some olive oil, to help the processor chop up the herbs and to make a nice paste.

I added some salt and pepper at some point, too.

Let the food processor go until the herbs and garlic are nice and chopped. You'll have a pretty green paste.

This is what the herb paste is going to coat. It's a nice bone-in pork rib roast. I've also seen them called a center-cut pork loin, rack of pork, or pork crown roast.

Because I'm lazy (and don't like wasting meat whenever possible), I left the meat on the ribs. Some people french the rib part (remove the meat from the ends of the bones) to make it look fancier.

Here's what a frenched rib roast looks like.

If you don't have a rib roast, you could use a regular pork roast, a pork tenderloin, or even pork chops.

Coat the outside of the rib roast with the herb mixture. Be sure to do both sides of the meat.

Get out a roasting pan, and cover the bottom with olive oil.

Roughly chop an onion and scatter the pieces on the bottom of the pan.

Throw on a bay leaf or two, and a little more fresh thyme.

Some apple cider will give your meat even more flavor to draw from.

Set the meat fat-side-up on top of the onions. I tried to push most of the onions underneath the pork.

Roast in a 425F oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the outside crust starts to get brown.

Then decrease your oven's temp to 325.

While the pork continues to roast, you can make the applesauce. This is just a quick and easy applesauce to serve alongside--I love how pork and apples taste together.

Grab your apples. I used a firmer eating apple, because I wanted chunks that would hold up to the pork.

These were some I bought from the farmer's market. They were really little. The Kid loved them--they were just her size! I used 7 of them. If you're using regular-sized apples, 3 or 4 should be fine.

Peel your apples, if you so desire. You don't have to. The skins would give your applesauce a pretty rosey color.

Now core the apples. I quarter the apples, then cut the core part at an angle.

Dice the apples and toss 'em in a pot.

Pour in some apple cider. This will tie the pork and the applesauce flavors together (and also use up some more of the cider, if you're not a heavy cider drinker.)

The cider will also help the apples cook down.

For sweetness, add some brown sugar. Taste your apples first--they might need more or less sugar, depending on how tart they are.

A sprinkle of cinnamon, just because cinnamon and apples are a great pair.

A pinch of salt will bring out the maximum flavor of the apples.

Turn up the heat and bring your pot of apples to a boil.

Once the apples are boiling, decrease the heat and let them simmer.

How long the applesauce cooks is up to you. 15-20 minutes should be enough time to cook the apples through; just be sure to stir occasionally. For a saucier applesauce, just let them simmer while the pork cooks. That's what I did.

And here's what it looked like.

I still had some nice chunks of apple, but they were soft and easy on the palate. If you like more pureed applesauce, take a potato masher to them and crush those big pieces down.

When your pork is done, take it out of the oven and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. Then cut yourself a thick slice.

And don't forget to serve it with your applesauce!

 Recipe: Rosemary-Garlic Crusted Pork

1 4-5 lb. pork rib roast (also called center-cut pork loin, rack of pork, or pork crown roast)
3 tbsp. fresh rosemary
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp. fresh thyme
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 c. olive oil

1 onion, roughly chopped
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
1-2 tbsp. fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
3/4 c. apple cider

Preheat oven to 425.

Using a food processor or a knife, chop rosemary, garlic, and thyme together. Add olive oil to make a paste. Smear paste all over the outside of the roast. Salt and pepper all over. Let the pork sit while you prepare the rest of the recipe.

Drizzle the bottom of a roasting pan with olive oil. Scatter onion around the bottom of the pan. Add thyme, bay leaf, and cider. Set pork roast on top of the onion, fat side up.

Roast pork for 20-25 minutes, until crust starts to brown. Reduce oven temperature to 325; roast for an additional 30-35 minutes until pork reaches 140F. Remove from oven and let rest 5-10 minutes before carving.

Recipe: Quick Applesauce

3-4 large apples (or 7-8 small), peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
3/4 c. apple cider
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt

Place apples in a medium-sized pot. Add cider, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Heat to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer. Let simmer for at least 15 minutes, or until apple pieces are thoroughly cooked and soft. For a more saucy applesauce, let apples simmer until pork is cooked through.

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