As week 3 of the New Year comes to a close, I’ve managed to stay true to my resolution thus far. I have to admit it’s pretty easy when you have a fairly large repertoire (not to mention a few personal cookbooks) full of healthy recipes. But as every mother knows – life tends to happen and can throw all your plans out the window.
The solution: cooking a few staples each week that can be easily transformed into leftovers for numerous days afterwards. After all that’s the principles I built my restaurant and home on – reuse, recycle, and reinvent.
This week’s main dish began with Beer-Braised Pork Loin, but quickly transformed into pulled pork sandwiches, taco pie, and soup. Today’s pork is one of those lean, not to mention affordable meats that can take whatever flavor you give it. In the summer I prefer to grill pork loin, whereas in the winter I prefer to bake it. Slow cooking (baking) helps make it tender and fills the house with the smell and feel of true comfort cooking. Add vegetables of your choice and you have a delicious and healthy meal that the whole family will enjoy – at least until the leftovers are gone. Cheers!
I grew up eating pork roast more often than chicken, which, for many years, was more expensive than meat in my family’s restaurants. That’s because until the 1950s, chickens were raised on family farms and valued for their eggs. Modern poultry mass-production changed all that. And today’s pork is a lot leaner than the pork of my childhood. This roast has the flavors of our family dinner at Grandmother Carlyn’s house, but just a fraction of the fat. Some love fennel seeds, some don’t, so I made it optional.
- 1 (4 ½ to 5-pound) pork roast
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups sliced onion
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced ¼ inch thick
- 1 (12-ounce) bottle Berghoff Original Lager
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, toasted and crushed (optional)
Season the pork liberally with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a Dutch oven with a lid over medium-high heat; sear the pork, turning it, until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Remove the roast, place on a plate, and set aside.
Remove the excess fat from the Dutch oven and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the apples and cook until they are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan by adding the Berghoff beer; bring the beer to a boil and add the fennel seeds if desired. Return the seared pork loin to the Dutch oven and bring the liquid to a simmer. Cover the pot, decrease the heat to low, and simmer until fork tender, 2 to 2 ½ hours. Remove from the heat. Place the roast on a plate, loosely covered with foil. Pour the pan sauce into a 1-quart glass measuring pitcher and skim the excess fat off the top. Puree if desired. Transfer the sauce to a 1-quart saucepan and heat to a simmer.
Serve the pork sliced, with Applesauce and Asparagus Vinaigrette. You can also cut into chunks or shred it over cooked noodles with the pan sauce. You can slice leftover pork and serve it as a sandwich on rye bread accompanied by coleslaw.