So today I finish the week’s posts with the third recipe in my creation of mustard roasted pork loin with creamy grits and okra. Getting to the meat of it, ehrrr… the pork loin. This cut of pork is pretty versatile – roasted, pan fried, grilled, smoked – there are many ways to get it from the refrigerator to the plate.
I absolutely love my gas grill and since it’s summer, I find it a snap to cook with it, keeping the mess and heat out of the house. Cooking outdoors is fun in and of itself, not to mention one isn’t allowed to command the grill, at our house anyway, without a proper libation – beer, wine or maybe an adult Arnold Palmer which we make with local favorite, Firefly Vodka (Wadmalaw Island, SC). Their sweet iced tea flavored vodka is in a word, delightful, especially mixed with icy lemonade and enjoyed among friends. I first tried this concoction during the RBC Heritage golf tournament last April and have been hooked ever since. It is quite refreshing if you are partial to iced tea, and if you aren’t, this may make an iced tea lover out of you.
Back to the pork. I actually have found that grilling alone, no matter if using charcoal or gas heat, can be tricky with pork loin. Pork loin is a lean cut, hence it can become dry if overcooked. I prefer my pork loin pink in color in the center and since pork loin, like many cuts of beef, needs to rest (and will continue to cook) before serving, getting the heat and timing just right can be tricky. The best course of action is to practice and take note of how your equipment (grill and range) cooks the pork within a specific time frame. Choosing a symmetrical loin of even thickness is a good idea too.
Over the years I have found that searing off the pork loin on a very hot grill and then roasting it in the oven gives me the best results. Believe me, I have turned some pork loins into shoe leather in the past when only utilizing the grill, so the lesson has been learned. Now I follow the at-home technique that many professionals use exclusively at work: searing and roasting. One could also wrap the loin in foil and roast on the grill and I would try this if I had no other alternative (if I was camping, for instance), but since I have a nice gas oven I see no reason to test fate. Plus I want pan drippings for my sauce.
The marinade is more like a liquidy ‘rub’ – thick with Dijon mustard, honey, garlic and rosemary. The flavor is best if the slathered loin can marinate, refrigerated, for 3 hours but at least one hour is permissible. Obviously, I adore this with creamy grits and crunchy fried okra – making a superb flavor and texture combination. But the loin could also be served with garlic mashed potatoes or even a good quality brown rice favored with stock and herbs, perhaps, if you are not into grits.
And before I forget, leftover pork loin also makes for a delicious sandwich. Add a crusty toasted bun, some caramelized onions, fresh greens and a dollop of homemade peach chutney (hint, hint) and you’ve got a lunch worthy of supper!
Mustard Roasted Pork Loin
- (1) 3-4 pound pork loin
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
- 2 tbl. honey
- fresh rosemary, washed and minced, approximately ¼ cup
- 1 cup white wine or vegetable or chicken stock or combination
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. fresh ground pepper
Wash and dry the pork loin. In a small bowl mix together the garlic, mustard, honey, and rosemary. Slather this mixture all over the pork loin. If your pork loin is in 2 pieces, tie together with cotton kitchen twine at several places along the loins to secure.
Place loin(s) on a platter, cover and refrigerate 1 – 3 hours. Prepare your grill about 1 hour 15 minutes (or more for charcoal) before planning to serve the pork loin.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Remove the pork from the refrigerator and allow to sit out 15 minutes or so (it’s still covered). On a hot grill sear the pork loin on all sides, careful not to flip it around too much. Remove the pork to a rack set in a roasting pan. Pour about 1 cup of liquid (either white wine or vegetable or chicken stock or some combination) in the bottom of the roasting pan.
Roast pork loin in oven for 30 minutes. Remove the loin from the roasting pan and allow to rest on a warmed platter, covered loosely with foil. Meanwhile make the sauce:
- pan drippings
- 1 tbl . honey
- 1 tbl. butter
- 2 tbl. cream
- salt & pepper to taste
Pour the pan dripping through a sieve from the roasting pan into a medium saucepan. Allow this to come to a low boil and cook until reduced by about a third. Reduce heat and whisk in the honey, butter and cream. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. Serve immediately with sliced pork loin. Note: this sauce will not be thick.