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Roast pork wins again! (long, w/recipe)

tom in sf | Dec 26, 200212:28 PM     1

First, thanks very much to svL, DavidT, deweyman and Melanie Wong, for the recommendations for wine to go with roast pork from Provence. Given time and pressures of preparing for the meal, I was only able to pick up the '00 Gigondas from Domain de Piaugier (a Rhone). It was lovely (needed to breathe some to open up) -- but the '99 Hermitage from Hahn was superb! (see Melanie's wine notes from earlier posting - "wine recs for roast pork")

I do not have the experience to discern the olives or the herbs and provide you with the nuances of flavors, but I can tell you it was a big, robust, complex wine with a long, luxurious finish. It added a deep note of elegance to the meal and complimented the pork beautifully.

I got the pork recipe from Lulu's Provencal Table by Richard Olney, with a forward by Alice Waters. According to the jacket, Lulu Peyraud is renowned in America as the "mother" of French bourgeois cooking. She and her husband Lucien are famous winemakers and owners of vinyeard Domaine Tempier, near Bandol in the south of France.

I'd like to share this recipe with you. It's always been a hit. One friend, who is likely the most prolific, skilled and gifted home cook I've known, said it was the best pork she's even had! It's one of my faves.

This is the original recipe, though personally I've made a couple of adjustments (see Cooking Notes at end).

Hope this is useful.

Roast Pork Loin with Sage and Onions serves 8

For a loin of pork prepared exactly in the same way, Lulu often replaces the little glazed onions with a half pound of black olives.

4 pounds of pork loin (including tenderloin), excess fat trimmed from surface, boned, bones broken up and reserved.

3 fresh sage leaves
2 cloves, pounded to a powder
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

fresh sage leaves
1 cup white wine

2 pounds small pickling onions, peeled (pearls)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon butter

Lay the loin out in a larger deep dish with the boned interior facing up, surround it with the bones, press the sage leaves into its surface, sprinkle over the spices, pour over the milk to cover, seal the dish with plastic wrap, and hold for several hours to overnight in a cool place, or refrigerate.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Remove loin from milk and drain. Discard milk and bones. Pat the meat dry with a cloth or paper towels. Sprinkle the inside surface with salt, lay sage leaves, end to end, the length of the cut, between the loin and the tender loin, roll the meat into a cylinder, enclosing the tenderloin in the middle, and tie it. Salt the surface of the roast, place it in a heavy, shallow, oval oven dish and put it in the oven. Ten minutes later, turn the oven down to 325 degrees F.

Begin to baste about every 15 minutes, as soon as the roast has released enough fat. After 45 minutes, remove all the fat from the pan, bring 1/2 cup wine to a boil and add it to the pan. Continue to baste every 10 or 15 minutes, adding small quantities of heated wine when necessary to keep the pan from drying up. Roast for 1 hour and 30 minutes, in all.

Meanwhile, put the onions, sugar, salt and butter in a pan large enough to hold them in a single layer, if possible. Pour over water to immerse the onions, bring to a boil, cover the pan, and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the lid, turn up the heat, and shake the pan regularly until all of the water has evaporated and the onions acquire a light golden haze. Fifteen minutes before removing the roast from the oven, degrease the juices as well as possible and and the onions to the pan.

Remove the roast to a carving board, clip and remove strings, carve into 1/3 inch slices, spread slices, overlapping, the length of a heated serving platter, surround with the onions, pour over the juices, and serve.

Cooking Notes:
1. I've always used rolled pork tenderloins, which come in a pair, tied together. No fuss with bones, and it's all good meat. I unroll them for the marinading, then on second seasoning, I re-tie before roasting. Because a tenderloin is pretty lean, be generous with the wine (or, for a really sinful, but fabulous trick, place a good two tablespoons of pork fat - lard, manteca, bacon fat - in the pan). I prefer leaving all of the juices in the pan throughout.
2. I use both olives and onions, and I specifically use oil cured black olives (w/o red pepper). I found some red pearl onions, which, when glazed and served, look like grapes (which I may experiment with next time), but white ones are just fine. After glazing the onions, add to roasting pan with olives for last fifteen minutes.
3. I put the pork up the night before the dinner and leave it all night and all day -- makes for an extremely moist pork. Haven't figured out what to do with the milk after marinading. Hate to toss it, but...
4. I increase both the amount of fresh sage leaves (at least double), as well as the cloves and nutmeg (double again). I place the leaves between the two tenderloins before re-tying.
5. Careful of the roasting time stated. I've found that it takes less time than it says, by as much as 15 minutes, depending on thr oven. Keep your meat thermometer handy.
6. Perfect accompaniments: Garlic Mashed Potatoes and rappini with (aged) balsamic.


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