Roast Loin of Pork with Pinot Noir Plum Sauce

Serves 6

This is a wonderfully simple recipe.  What I like most is that you can serve it hot or room temperature.  So if you are expecting guests and prefer to spend as little time as possible preparing at the last moment, this entrée is a great choice.

You can make the Pinot Noir Plum Sauce several days ahead and cook the pork the day before or earlier the same day.

Cooking this pork is a two-step process.  Since pork loin is relatively lean, I prefer to brine the loin overnight before cooking.  This helps keep it moist and also gives it additional flavor. If available, try and get some heirloom pork, they have better flavor and usually better “marbling” (the fat inside the meat that adds moisture and flavor). And remember that pork should be served medium-rare to medium. A little pink is OK health-wise and is a much tastier final product.

When a recipe calls for bay leaves, I list it by length. Since the size of bay leaves varies so much, this is a more accurate way of measuring. Purchase good freshly packed bay leaves. Morton and Bassett is a great spice company whose bay leaves are hand-packed and of exceptional quality.

Loin of Pork

  • 2 pounds boneless center cut pork loin, trimmed of all outside fat
  • 1 quart  water
  • 1/2 cup  brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup  kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 sprigs  fresh thyme
  • 3 inches  bay leaf
  • cooking oil

Pinot Noir Plum Sauce

  • 1 teaspoon butter, unsalted
  • 1  shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup  Pinot Noir
  • 1 quart  chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 2 pounds fresh plums (a dark red plum, such as Santa Rosa, is best), pits removed
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 11  spearmint leaves
  • 1/4 cup  hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

Step 1:  Brining the pork loin

Combine water, sugar, salt, peppercorns, thyme and bay leaf. Stir to dissolve. Place the pork loin in the brine and refrigerate overnight.

Step 2:  Cooking the pork loin

The next day, remove the pork from the brine, pat dry (damp meat won’t brown) and season with salt and pepper.

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Place a heavy bottomed sauté pan over medium heat with just enough cooking oil to coat the bottom of the pan.  Place the pork loin in the pan and sear each side, turning frequently.  When the meat is lightly golden brown (approximately 1- 2 minutes per side), immediately place the pan with the pork loin in the oven.  Roast for approximately 20 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.

If serving warm, place on a plate and let rest for 5-10 minutes, covered with foil. Roasting a cut of meat forces juices to the center of the meat.  By letting the meat rest, juices can evenly re-distribute themselves and the pork remains moist when sliced.

If you plan to serve the pork at room temperature, let it rest uncovered for at least 30 minutes before slicing.  If you are serving it the next day, let it rest uncovered until it is just slightly warm to the touch, then wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Slice the next day.

Pinot Noir Plum Sauce

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, cook the shallots and garlic in the butter until they just start to brown. Add the Pinot Noir and reduce the volume by one-half.  Next, add the vegetable or chicken broth (I prefer vegetable broth for this recipe), plums and sugar.  Simmer until the plums are just cooked through.  Add the mint, hoisin and coriander and simmer for another 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and strain to remove the skins (which give the sauce excellent color and taste) as well as the shallots, garlic, plum pits and mint. Make sure you push all the plum meat and juices through the strainer, as this is the body of the sauce.  Allow the sauce to cool and then place it in a blender and process until velvety smooth.

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