• Kate

Brown Sugar and Garlic Pork Loin with Roasted Colorful Vegetables

It has been one red hot Chicago summer the past few days. The kind of hot that makes you not want to turn your oven on in fear of making the one window unit useless. Living in a tiny studio it only takes a matter of minutes for my small oven to fill up the whole place with a stuffy heat.

When the legendary Chicago winds brought clouds and you could smell the oncoming rain you hope it brings some reprieve. Wednesday afternoon cool winds were blowing across the lake, actually sending a chill up my spine and I knew….now was the day turn put my oven up and get cooking! Brown Sugar and Garlic Glazed Pork Loin with a side of roasted Colorful Vegetables were on my menu tonight!

Brown Sugar and Garlic Pork Loin

1.5LB Pork Loin

⅓ C Brown Sugar

4 Cloves of Garlic

.5 Tsp Chilli Powder

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 Tsp Apple Cider Vinegar

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

4 Tbps of Butter

Serves 4

Preheat your oven to 350℉ degrees, placing rack in the center of the oven.

Finely chop garlic cloves on plastic cutting board, I like to smash the chopped pieces with a fork or the dull edge of a knife to release some more flavor as well as tenderize the garlic.

TIP: Hate it when those apples taste like garlic when you use that one cutting board? When trying to get pungent flavors and smells out of your cutting boards rub them down with a half a lemon. The acid in the lemon makes it a fantastic cleaner and should wipe that smell out of those boards.

Combine to brown sugar in a small mixing bowl with garlic, salt, pepper, chili powder, and apple cider vinegar. While stirring, drizzle about 2 Tbsp olive oil. We are looking for a smooth consistency, a sort of loose paste.

While these flavors marry it is time to pay attention to the pork. I try to have my meat sit on my counter unwrapped for at least an hour to warm up and evaporate excess moisture. Meat cooks better at room temperature and water will dull the flavor of our glaze. I even pat the pork down pretty thoroughly with a paper towel before I get started.

Prick the pork several times all over with a fork, tenderizing the meat and allowing the glaze to penetrate further into the loin.

The best way to do this next step is with your hands, it is time to get dirty! Since I tend to prep alone in the kitchen I have to remember to turn on my tap before touching raw meat, I can’t tell you how difficult it is to maneuver around my sink and wash my hands when I forget. Message the glaze into the meat, covering all sides.

If you have the forethought, this glaze can be applied hours earlier to really allow the flavors to sink into the meat and bloom. However, thirty minutes will do if that is all you have ( sometimes that clock is really ticking and people are about to be strolling in).

To brown the pork place a cast iron skillet on high heat, allow skillet to get HOT, water should bounce right off the surface. Place a Tbsp of butter into the skillet and have it coat the bottom of the pan, allowing the butter to brown. Place meat into the middle of the pan and leave alone for 2-3 minutes, when it is time to move the meat should no longer be sticking to the pan, flip and let stand for an additional 2-3 minutes. We are looking to allow the sugars in our glaze to melt and coat the pork.

Pork is one of the easiest meats to dry out, I fight this with butter...butter...and more butter. Every time I move the pork loin I place another pad of butter underneath. After both sides are browned place into the oven for about 35-40 minutes, with a pad of butter on top. I set a timer every ten minutes to remind myself to baste the pork with the pan drippings and place some additional butter onto the top of the meat. I like the idea of it melting and dripping down the sides to gather underneath.

Plate the pork loin on a serving dish or cutting board, pour drippings from the pan over the meat, don’t let that all goodness go to waste.

If my Dad has taught me anything it is to be PATIENT WITH MEAT! Too many times have I labored over prepping and cooking pork only to ruin it by cutting right after taking it out of the oven. Your meat needs to rest, give that butter a chance to move through and settle deep into the core. If you cut too soon all the juices will all pour out and you will be left with dried out leather. I actually need to set a timer for 5 minutes to slow myself down, once that timer goes off it is time to carve and enjoy.

Roasted Colorful Veggies

4 Medium Carrots

3 Large Beets

1 Medium Red Onion

1 Tsp Garlic Powder

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Healthy Drizzle of Olive Oil

Fresh Parsley

Serves 4

Peel and dice vegetables into .25-.5 inch pieces, keep the slices as consistent as possible, too many sizes means too many different cooking times. Toss the diced vegetables in a mixing bowl to well coat in your spices and olive oil. Remember, I tend to cook with my hands but beets stain so you may want to use a utensil to avoid red fingers. Spread these little gems over a large cookie sheet, making sure to give as much space as possible between pieces to allow even cooking. Pop into a 350℉ for 45 minutes.

Beets are a tougher vegetable then carrots so they do not cook as much over the same amount of time. I like more al dente beets, therefore, I put all my veggies in at once, I like the crunch mixed in with the tender carrots. If you like your beets more well done (softer) put them in ten minutes before the carrots and onions.

Don’t forget about them! Be sure to check in periodically (every 10 minutes is plenty) and give them some love. Move them around the cookie sheet, flip them over a few times. We want to make sure they cook evenly and get a little crisp on their edges.

Serve with chopped fresh parsley

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