A Harmony of Flavors

Monday, January 7, 2013

Pork Loin Roast, Good for Any Occasion

I got an idea a few days ago for making a pork loin roast. I wanted a rub, but what kind? I wanted a little bit of sweet, but not too much, so I used brown sugar. I thought of using cocoa in it, as I love foods using cocoa, not as a sweet element, but in the concept of a mole poblano kind of way. I wanted smokiness, because we both love that, so I put in smoked paprika and Spanish sweet paprika. Then what other things would give the kinds of flavors I was looking for? I add in a lot of freshly ground pepper, because I love pepper, and it gives a little bite. Ginger has a little of its own bite and zip. Coriander seeds give great flavor, and then a little cumin. I added in a little ancho chile powder for a little more zip. I could have added chipotle powder but didn't want it to be too hot for my guests. If I knew guests loved heat with their spice, I would certainly add that in.

Sweet Cocoa Rubbed Pork Loin Roast
I went to work, adding this and that, tasting the outcome to see how it fared. It was really good, so I proceeded with that as my recipe for Sweet Smoky Cocoa Rub. Then for the pork loin. Loins can end up tough and dry because the meat in the center is so lean. Two things that were crucial in my mind is to get the flavor to the middle of the meat, and to roast it correctly so it would stay juicy and succulent. In order to get flavor to the middle, I decided to cut the 4 1/2 pound roast open in a spiral, so it would lay flat. My reason for this was to rub on a paste of garlic, minced thyme and olive oil to the inside of the roast. I then took 3 or 4 tablespoons of the rub mix and sprinkled it over the paste and rubbed it in. I sprinkled on a couple teaspoons of Kosher salt and rolled the meat back to its original shape. Using kitchen twine, I tied the loin in about 6 places or so to keep it together while it roasted. I rubbed a lot more of the spice rub on the outside and sprinkled with more Kosher salt. I set this in the refrigerator overnight.

Now it was ready for the oven. To roast fast at high temperature or low and slow? I opted for low and slow, setting the oven at 325 degrees. My plan was to roast for an hour, then lay bacon strips over the top of the roast for the remainder of time. I added the bacon too late (it was quite thick sliced), so it didn't even get done before the roast registered 150 on my thermometer. Looking back, I could easily have fried the bacon and laid the strips on the inside of the roast when I was seasoning it, and would certainly try that next time. As it was, I had to fry the bacon a little bit more to get it done completely. I removed the roast when it hit 150 degrees, tented it with foil and left it to rest while I finished preparing the side dishes. My Sweet Cocoa Rubbed Pork Loin Roast came out well flavored, moist and succulent. Just as I hoped.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and sign up for my Newsletter.