Off the Menu with Dara can be heard every Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon on News Radio 830 WCCO! See all of Mpls. St.Paul Magazine’s Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl’s Top 5 lists here!
I got a request this week for my favorite pork loin recipe, and you know me—I couldn’t pick just one. I thought I’d put together a collection, so when you have that special dinner party or pork loin is on sale, you’re ready! I love pork loins, they’re perfect to build a dinner party around because they never get dry—well, you’d have to really work at it—and while they roast, the house starts to smell great. Here they are, my Top 5 Pork Loin Recipes!
Honey-Thyme Roasted Pork Tenderloin
I knew as soon as I started this recipe collection that we’d end up with people wanting to do these things with pork tenderloins and not pork loins—and this is the recipe for you pork tenderloin people! It’s important to know that they are two very different cuts. Pork tenderloin is long and skinny. It’s the muscle that runs down the animal’s back, and it’s boneless, prestigious, the filet mignon of pork. The pork loin, meanwhile, is a big old roast from the animal’s back; when the bones are left on it’s the big fancy thing people trot out at Christmas. When the bones are off it’s still big and fancy. Do you understand what I’m getting at? Long skinny is the tenderloin; big fat roast is the pork loin. Now that we’ve got that sorted, the easiest best pork tenderloin recipe of all-time? Just might be this one. Butter, honey, a pan, a plan. Use lavender or thyme for another note, and it’s just perfect.
The Basic Pork Loin Roast
If you’re not familiar with what a great family-friendly recipe pork loin roast is, here’s the basic one you should master. You’re not doing too much more than coating the pork loin with spices and herbs, but then you’re letting it rest for a while so the flavors soak in. You simply roast it, first at a higher heat, then at a lower one, till it’s done. Easy peasy. Now you have a fancy roast for dinner, and you can slice the leftovers for the best, best sandwiches.
Ginger Fig Pork Loin Roast
If you like big flavors, if you love those fall pie flavors, if you like Christmas in any more than a glancing way, you will love this ginger, garlic, fig, lavender, allspice flavor-bomb! It makes the house smell like heaven while it cooks.
Lidia Bastianich’s Roasted Pork Loin Stuffed with Prunes
Lidia Bastianich is the severe-but-tender, brilliant Italian Grandma we all wish we had, and her pork loin stuffed with bourbon-soaked prunes, it’s just one of those sweet and brilliant recipes that makes the house smell like heaven. You can do most of it way in advance, too—that way on the day you want to eat it just start roasting.
April Bloomfield’s Oven-Roasted Pork Loin Wrapped in Coppa
April Bloomfield is a British chef with a couple of New York city restaurants; Spotted Pig and the Breslin most prominently. She has a couple of famous cookbooks, the Girl and Her Pig and the Girl and Her Greens. Minneapolis is about to go April Bloomfield crazy because she sold out two nights at Spoon and Stable at $300 a head, and I’m hosting a party for her the night before, on October 12. If you want to know why people are so bonkers for her, try her coppa-wrapped pork loin. She does a brilliant thing which is pulverizing dried bay leaves, then another brilliant thing which is coating the pork loin in lard, and then a third which is sealing it all in under copa—that’s a kind of dried pork, and you can use bacon if you can’t find copa. What comes out is so tender, so flavorful—just life changing. You might want to make this instead of Thanksgiving turkey for the rest of your life.