Sunday, December 4, 2011

Herb-and-Garlic-Crusted Pork Roast

I came across this recipe in the November, 2011 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. I admit, it was a little bit involved, but after serving this to my family, I think it is, without question, the very best pork roast I've ever tasted! Brining the meat before roasting makes it moist and juicy. It would make a perfect meal to serve for company or for a special occasion. Seriously delicious!!!

Makes: 6 servings, plus leftovers
Prep: 25 minutes
Marinate: overnight
Roast: 1 hour
Stand: 15 minutes
8 cups cold water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 center cut, boneless pork loin, approximately 3 to 3 1/12 pounds

3 Tbsp. peanut or vegetable oil
4 slices Black Forest bacon or other thick-sliced bacon, cut in 1-inch pieces (uncooked)
1 Tbsp. apricot preserves
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh garlic
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs***
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3 Tbsp. butter, melted

1. For brine, in a very large bowl dissolve salt and sugar in 8 cups cold water. Transfer pork to brine, making sure to submerge it fully. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or up to 2 days.

2. Remove loin from brine and blot dry with paper towels. In a nonstick skillet heat oil, then brown roast on all sides, about 10 minutes. Set aside for 5 to 30 minutes to cool slightly.

3. In a food processor, puree uncooked bacon to a smooth paste. (This amount of bacon is necessary for blades to process. Use the remaining puree to make appetizers: spread on baguette slices then broil until golden.) Transfer half the bacon to a bowl. Stir in apricot preserves, chopped garlic, and 2 tsp. of the chopped rosemary.

4. Position oven rack in lowest position. Preheat oven to 425°F. Place cooled pork loin on waxed paper. Spread with bacon mixture. In a separate bowl combine the bread crumbs, parsley, remaining rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, a few grinds of black pepper, and the melted butter. Toss well to mix. Press an even layer of the crumb mixture on the roast (except the ends), applying enough pressure for the crumbs to adhere to the bacon layer.

5. Carefully transfer roast to a foil-lined baking pan or roasting pan and place pan on the lowest rack in the oven. Roast for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Roast for 45 minutes more or until an instant read thermometer registers 145°F. (If crust begins to brown too deeply, tent roast with foil.) Remove roast from oven, tent with foil, and allow to rest for 15 minutes in a warm place. Temperature of roast will rise approximately 10°F as it stands.

** If you don't let the crumbs stale overnight, spread them in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan and bake, uncovered, in a 300°F oven 10 minutes or until dry, stirring once or twice. Crumbs will continue to dry as they cool.

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