Food For Thought

Roast Pork with Apples, Onions and Sage

Start this dish 24 hours before you want to serve it. The brining really tenderizes the port. With the apples and sage, it makes a wonderful fall Sunday supper.


1 gallon water
1-cup kosher salt
1/2-cup sugar
1/4-cup maple syrup
12 juniper berries
3 cloves
2 bay leaves
3-4 sprigs fresh sage

1 pork loin roast, center cut, bone in and notched through the chine at 2-inch intervals    weighing about 7-10 pounds.
1-cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons cracked black pepper

2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 medium red onion, peeled and cut into a medium dice
6 granny smith apples, cores removed and cut in 1/6’s
1-cup calvados or apple brandy
2 cups chicken stock
8-10 sage leaves

Bring all the ingredients for the brine to a boil in a non-aluminum pot. Allow to cool completely

Immerse the pork loin in the brine and refrigerate for 24 hours. Place a small plate on it to make sure the entire roast is under water.

One hour before you want to cook the pork, remove it from the refrigerator. Lift the meat out of the brine and pat the meat dry with paper towels. Place the pork, meat side up, on a rack, which will fit into the roasting pan. Allow it to come to room temperature. Discard the brine.

Combine the maple syrup and mustard and brush the pork with this mixture. Reserve the remaining maple mixture. Sprinkle the pepper evenly over the pork. Place the pork in a pre-heated 350-degree oven. Cook for 11/4-11/2 hours. The meat should register at 140 degrees. Brush the meat with the maple syrup-mustard mixture 3-4 times during the cooking process.

While the pork is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of cooking oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Add the apples and continue to cook, tossing and stirring until they begin to brown.

Remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the Calvados. Place it back on the fire and let it flame. Add the chicken stock and sage and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and cook until the apples are tender but not mushy. About 7-9 minutes. Stir in the remaining butter until incorporated. Keep warm.

When the pork is finished cooking, remove it to the platter and let it rest for 7-10 minutes. To serve, spoon some of the apple and onions onto the plate. Cut the port into chops or remove it from the bone and cut into thin slices.

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