Sunday, September 4, 2011

Apple Pomegranate Pork Loin

Damon's parents are here for the weekend. His dad is allergic to soy, so whenever they come I look for new soy-free recipes. It's challenging but fun. You wouldn't believe how many foods have soy. For example, the other night I did Jackie's crock pot chicken taco meat - one brand of taco seasoning had soy, another didn't. Soft taco shells had soy, hard didn't. Weird.

Anyway, I googled "soy-free recipes" and found this pork loin that turned out super yummy! It was really juicy and tender. Tweaked it a little - I guess pomegranates are not in season, but Kroger had 100% pomegranate juice in their little all-natural beverage section near the produce, so I substituted 1/2 a cup of that for the fresh juice and seeds. Also, as I've said before, Damon is a much better cook than I am, and he added some stuff to the sauce, like ground mustard and pepper. I'm sure it would taste good the way it's given here too.

Apple Pomegranate Pork Loin

1 qt. plus 1/2 c. apple cider
1/4 c. kosher salt or 1/8 c. table salt
3 bay leaves
2- to 2.5-lb. boneless pork loin
freshly ground pepper
juice and seeds from 1 large pomegranate
1 T. corn starch
sugar (if necessary)

In a deep bowl, stir together 1 quart apple cider, salt and bay leaves to make a brine. Immerse pork loin in brine and store in refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight (If using an "enhanced" pork loin, brine for only 2-3 hours because it already has added salt).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove pork from brine (dispose of brine mixture). Pat pork dry with paper towels, season all over with pepper and place on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast pork until meat thermometer inserted in thickest part reaches 160 degrees, approx. 1 hr 30 minutes (I found out after I bought my pork loin that it was already cut into two separate pieces length-wise, so it only took about an hour to cook). Remove roast from oven and place on a serving platter, covered lightly with foil.

In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup apple cider and 1 tablespoon corn starch.

In a saucepan, bring the cider-starch mixture and the pomegranate seeds and juice to a boil over medium-high heat. Immediately lower heat to medium-low and cook gently until sauce is clear and very thick, about 8-10 minutes. Taste and add a little sugar, if necessary.

To serve, drizzle enough apple-pomegranate sauce on the pork loin to cover the roast. Pass the rest of the sauce behind the roast at table as a dipping sauce. Serve immediately.