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The pork sold in supermarkets today is so lean that it bears no resemblance to the juicy, flavorful pork roasts my grandmother served. Fortunately, chefs and consumers are reviving the market for healthy, free-range pork with sufficient marbling. The best place to find good pork is at your local farmers’ market.
1 pork loin roast, 3 to 4 pounds
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
8 small shallots, peeled and whole
2 4-inch sprigs fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
2 sweet-tart baking apples, halved and cored
1/2 cup hard apple cider
1 pint cream
1. Season the roast on all sides with the 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. Transfer to a plate. Arrange the shallots, rosemary and bay leaf in the Dutch oven and place the pork on top. Cover with foil.
2. Bake for 40 minutes at 400 degrees. 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 F, approximately 20 to 40 minutes depending on size. Remove from the oven, place the pork on a cutting board and cover loosely with foil.
3. Put the shallots and apples in a small serving bowl and keep warm. Over high heat, pour the cider into the Dutch oven to deglaze it, scraping any browned bits from its bottom and sides. 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 shallots, apples and cream gravy.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
Ivy Manning, The Farm to Table Cookbook: The Art of Eating Locally (Sasquatch Books, 2008)
Photo by Gregor Torrence