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pork loin with blueberry sauce

Sat, 24 June, 2017

⯆ JUMP TO RECIPE
Roast pork loin, unbelievably juicy and succulent, served with blueberry sauce is such a great combination I might just pair them forever now.

pork loin with blueberry sauce cuisinefiend.com

The best sauce for pork

The best sauce for roast pork? It isn’t parsley or apple, or even that weird condiment called bread sauce. It’s blueberry sauce, and in the form not much different than what usually hangs out in the company of pancakes.

It is silly easy to make, and you can use frozen blueberries out of season, without thawing them. Just bring all the ingredients to a rolling boil and cook for a few minutes to reduce and thicken.

Balsamic vinegar and rosemary make up the pretence of a savoury dish, but you can happily spoon any leftovers over your porridge for breakfast or even ice cream for dessert. That’s what I call a versatile condiment!

blueberry sauce for pork cuisinefiend.com

The best roast pork loin

Pork loin is usually chopped into chops rather than roasted whole. That is likely due to its lean characteristics: in simple terms, roasted pork loin tends to be rather dry.

Not this time: this is delicate lean meat, juicy and succulent, almost like cured and gently cooked ham. Taste a slice, and you might believe it’s the result of sous-vide preparation.

It is not sous-vide, but you can achieve very similar results (without the hassle of bagging up your meat and the expense of the apparatus) by low temperature roasting.

And that means low: 80C/175F.

It may seem a little hocus-pocus, out there with said sous-vide, molecular cuisine, foams and essences, but it isn’t really. Subjecting meat to gentle heat means that it doesn’t dry out, cooks very evenly and never gets to the point of being stupidly dry and frazzled – which pork loin is prone to being.

low temperature roast pork cuisinefiend.com

How do I know when it’s cooked?

That’s when a digital probe comes in handy, and if you haven’t got one, you’d better make the investment (not that they cost a lot these days).

Arguably the best ones can be stabbed into the meat joint going into the oven, and alert you on a remote device when a desired temperature is reached. But a pen-like thermometers will do too; you might just test the meat a couple of times before it’s ready.

In the complete absence of any kind of probe, don’t fret: the timing indicated in the recipe is pretty reliable and you can find a good guide to low-temp cooking times at Donald Russell, the esteemed Scottish online butcher.

And the best thing is, you never risk burning it, if the oven temperature is barely over medium-cooked pork!

how to roast pork loin cuisinefiend.com

No charred and crispy skin?

The downside of this cooking method is of course the lack of Maillard reaction – the complex process that results in humans salivating over a chunk of food (not necessarily meat).

The smell, the appearance and, in the case of my pork, a tasty-looking charred skin or fat will be utterly lacking when cooked at 80C. But that can be helped too: we have two options, either sear the meat beforehand or blowtorch it after cooking.

A chef’s blowtorch is a serious piece of kit, pricewise and operationally. A cheap blowtorch available to home cooks is fine when you want to brûlée your crème, but not enough for a roast joint.

Searing is a much safer option. Once you’ve browned your meat and it’s in the oven, you can forget about it and focus on the rest of the meal because low temp roast doesn’t need to rest. It can be sliced straight out of the (warm) oven.

searing pork loin cuisinefiend.com

Is it worth brining pork loin?

If you want to be absolutely sure the roast won’t be dry, brine the meat overnight. brining also ensures good and even seasoning and the result will be astonishing, I promise.

A simple salty-sweet brine, with whatever aromatics you like; searing the meat in a smoking-hot pan; roasting it in a barely hot oven for an hour and a half – and you and your diners will have never had such tasty roast pork before.

brining pork loin

Does it work with pork tenderloin?

It absolutely does, and arguably there’s no need to brine pork fillet. Just season it with salt and pepper, perhaps rub it with a rosemary sprig and sear it briskly, since it’s much thinner than loin.

The roasting time will be only a quarter of an hour shorter, for one or two whole fillets.

And the blueberry sauce will go just as lovely with it.

best pork loin roast with blueberry sauce cuisinefiend.com

More pork recipes

Braising is a different technique to low temperature roasting even though we sometimes refer to it as ‘slow and low’. Braised pork shoulder comes out of the oven as pulled pork, ready to be shredded into tacos.

I cannot fail to mention porchetta, Italian classic roasted pork (or, traditionally, a whole piglet!). Stuffed with herbs, rolled up and roasted, it’s the most delicious part of Italian charcuterie.

Pork and mushroom stroganoff: perfect for when you want to cook an easy but special dish and can’t afford to spend a small fortune on the ingredients.

pork with blueberry sauce cuisinefiend.com



pork loin with blueberry sauce

Servings: 4Time: 1 hour 40 minutes plus brining

INGREDIENTS

  • For the brine:
  • 1l (a quart) water
  • 70g (¼ cup) salt
  • 50g (¼ cup) light brown sugar
  • 1-2 star anise
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • about 500g (over 1 pound) boneless pork loin, skin and half the fat layer trimmed
  • black pepper
  • a little oil, for searing
  • For the blueberry sauce:
  • 200g (2 cups) frozen blueberries
  • 3 tbsp. soft light brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • a sprig of rosemary
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar


METHOD

1. Remove the skin and half the fat from the pork leaving only a thin layer.

2. In a pan or a bowl large enough to fit the meat and brine, dissolve the sugar and salt in the water, add the spices and submerge the pork; you might want to weigh it down with a tin or a small plate. Place it in the fridge for 8-10 hours.

3. Remove the pork from the brine and pat dry; season it with black pepper.

4. Preheat the oven to 80C/175F/minimum gas – it won’t work so well in a gas oven unless you monitor the temperature closely with an oven thermometer; gas heat is more volatile.

5. Sear the pork on all sides in a skillet with a little oil on high-medium heat; for a joint that size it should take about 8 minutes.

6. Place the seared meat in a clean roasting dish (don’t re-use the searing skillet). If you have an in-oven temperature probe, stick it in the thickest part of the joint and place the meat in the oven. The roasting time is about 1½ hour until the internal temperature reads 70-72C/160F.

7. While the pork is roasting, prepare the sauce: place all except a handful of the frozen blueberries in a saucepan with the sugar, pepper and the rosemary sprig and bring to a vigorous boil. Cook it for 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the liquid starts to evaporate.

8. Remove the rosemary and add the balsamic vinegar. Cook it down until it thickens (take care not to burn it) and stir in the reserved blueberries.

9. Meat cooked at such low temperature doesn’t need resting so you can slice it as soon as it’s out of the oven. Spoon the sauce over the pork and serve extra in a little dish alongside the meat.

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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