I missed the traditional turkey dinner this Thanksgiving. Since cc and I went to Galveston it didn't make sense to cook a large meal for the two of us. So I opted for a seasonal option and roasted a pork which was a great alternative. I found the recipe in one of my favorite books, The Farm to Table Cookbook. It was surprisingly easy and oh so delicious.
The gravy calls for a hard cider but apple cider can be substituted. I used regular apple cider but I was worried about it being too sweet since it is drastically different than hard cider so I split the it with chicken broth for a more savory gravy and I was pleased with the results. You will see my substitution noted in the ingredients.
Roasted Pork & Apples with Cream Gravy*
3-4 pound pork loin roast (healthy free-range organic pork is best)
kosher salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 small (4 ounces) shallots, peeled and whole
Two 4-inch sprigs fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
2 sweet-tart baking apples such as Braeburn or Granny Smith, halved and cored
1/2 cup hard apple cider** or 1/4 cup of apple cider + 1/4 cup of chicken stock
1 pint cream
**hard cider is fermented apple cider; it can be found in bottles wherever beer is sold. You can substitute apple cider which is what I did.
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Season the roast on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or ovenproof pan over high heat. Sear the pork on all sides until it is deep brown, carefully turning with tongs. Transfer to a plate. Arrange the shallots, rosemary, and bay leaf in the Dutch oven and place the pork on top. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
2. Remove the foil, nestle the apples around the pork, and continue to roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the roast reads 145 degrees, 20 to 40 minutes depending on the size of your roast (the pork should have a blush of pink juice when sliced). Remove from the oven, place the pork on a cutting board, and cover it loosely with the foil.
3 Put the shallots and apples in a small serving bowl and keep warm. Over high heat degalze the Dutch oven with cider (or cider and broth), scrapping any browned bits on the bottom and sides of the pan; reduce the liquid by half. Add the cream and simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
4 Carve the roast and serve with the shallots, apples, and cream gravy.
For my side dishes I served warm homemade bread, braised brussel sprouts with bacon, and roasted, rosemary potatoes.
*This recipe, with the exception of the gravy substitution, is copied directly from the book.