My people hail from the Philippines; we eat noodle dishes on New Year’s Day. Long noodles = Long life. Kurt’s family roots are German and they brought the animal theme to the New Year’s meal: “Chickens scratch backwards, cows stand still and pigs push forward (i.e., with their snout).” Their required New Year’s food is pork, so that like the pig, you’d progress in the coming year. Works for me, since one of the main meats for Filipinos is the pig (baboy in Tagalog). Last night I made one of Kurt’s favorite pork preparations– pork loin braised in apple cider with a mustard cream sauce made with the braising liquid served with barley cooked with leeks and celery in beef broth and a little red wine. (We’ll have the filipino noodle dish pancit this evening).
The pork roast and barley dish are from a great cookbook, Betty Rosbottom’s Cooking School Cookbook. Every recipe I’ve chosen to make out of this book has been a hit– like the Orange Walnut Cake with cream cheese frosting that became Kurt’s de facto birthday cake for years. Or the Wild Rice and Pine Nut Pilaf which Grace loves. I haven’t cooked out of this book for a while since the dishes are rich and decadent as was most of the cuisine in the Reagan era 80’s, and the portions are generous, to say the least. Lots of butter and cream, often both.
The pork roast by itself is not heavy, but the mustard cream sauce is silky and thick, made by first reducing the apple cider braise to a thick sweet sauce before adding a cup of cream– and then reducing again! Yep, this is Kurt’s favorite– I bet he’d drink the sauce by itself. The barley side dish is prepared like a pilaf, so you use almost a stick of butter to saute the leeks and celery and then coat the barley. Oh well, I don’t make this dish often and we do need a pork dish for New Year’s! Also, I don’t bake the barley as in the original recipe; I cook it on my stove top. You can also make the recipe ahead to the point of adding the broth and red wine– just let the barley and veg sit in the pot at room temperature until you’re ready to proceed.
Roast Loin of Pork Braised in Apple Cider with a Mustard Cream Sauce (adapted from Betty Rosbottom’s Cooking School Cookbook)
- 3 1/2 to 4 lb pork loin roast (NOT the skinny tenderloins)
- 3 c apple cider
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 clove of garlic, pressed
- handful of parsley
- salt and pepper
- 2 tsp mustard
- 1 c cream
- olive oil for searing
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dry off the roast with paper towels. Salt and pepper.
Coat the bottom of a heavy pot, e.g., Dutch oven with olive oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, sear the roast on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Set roast aside momentarily while you pour out any remaining fat/oil.
Place the roast back into the pot and add the cider,
bay leaves, thyme and garlic.
Bring to a simmer, clamp on a lid and place in the 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn roast over with a pair of tongs.
Continue braising for another 30 minutes or until pork reaches 135 degrees. (I made a HUGE mistake by following the original recipe and cooking the meat to 170 degrees. It was overcooked for us– we usually like a blush of pink in the middle, so I usually cook to 135 degrees and let the residual heat bring it to 140 degrees. Thank goodness we had a sauce).
Remove pork from the pot to a cutting board with a draining ditch. Cover with two layers of foil and a kitchen towel and let rest.
Strain the braising liquid through a sieve into a measuring cup. You should have at least 3 cups of liquid; if not add cider to get there. Pour the liquid back into the pot and let reduce by half over high heat.
The reduced liquid will be fairly thick. Stir about 1/4 cup into the cream to temper it, then pour the warmed cream into the pot. Reduce again by one-half, then stir in the mustard. Taste and correct seasoning as needed.
Slice roast fairly thin and serve with the sauce.
Barley with Leeks and Celery (adapted from the same cookbook above)
- 1 1/2 c thinly sliced leeks
- 1 c thinly sliced celery
- 6 TB unsalted butter
- 2 c pearl barley
- 3 1/2 c beef broth (again, I opt for Pacific)
- 1/2 c red wine
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 c finely minced parsley
The leeks should be well rinsed to remove any sand and grit. To do this, make long slices all around the leek just to the root.
Under running water, fan out the leek and let the water rinse out any dirt. Shake gently to remove excess water.
Heat the butter in a heavy pot (I use a small Dutch oven with a tight lid) over medium low heat. When the foam has subsided, add the leeks and celery and sweat until tender, about 6 minutes.
This is what they look like after about six minutes– translucent.
Add the barley and stir to combine all ingredients. Let the barley cook for about 3 minutes.
Add the bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper and stir once again.
Add the broth and red wine. Bring the liquid to a simmer, then clamp on the lid and simmer for 35 minutes or until barley is chewy-tender.
Just before serving, add the chopped parsley and stir. This dish will hold quite a while without losing its texture.
Wishing everyone a great 2013!