Our local grocery store has recently run some amazing specials on pork loin, $1/pound - unfortunately for me they only sell them in massive sizes so being that I'm intrigued by the price I went ahead and bought a monster pork loin and have been testing out various recipes for using the thirds that I cut the meat into once it came home. First go-round was a BBQ pulled pork, it wasn't bad but the pork loin didn't have enough fat to keep it moist over the long-slow cooking process. Second time around was a big hit, I adapted a recipe that I found in a Curtis Stone cookbook (my favorite Aussie chef), Roast Loin of Free-Range Pork with Roast Pumpkin....a great way to use some of that pork loin that was perfect for a chilly fall evening.
Roast Loin of Free-Range Pork with Roast Pumpkin
3 1/4 LB Loin of Pork
1/4 Cup Kosher Salt
1/8 Cup White Sugar
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 1/4 Cups of peeled, cubed Pumpkin
1 Tbsp Fresh Majoram Leaves
1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
1. Preheat oven to 425. Score the loin of pork with a very sharp knife and rub with salt and sugar, then drizzle with olive oil.
2. Place on a rack in a roasting dish and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temp to 350 and roast for an additional 50 minutes.
3. While pork is in the oven, preheat a separate baking dish for pumpkin.
4. Place cubed pumpkin in dish and toss with oil. Don't put too much oil in the dish or the pumpkin will become soggy, not crisp.
5. Sprinkle the pumpkin with marjoram leaves and roast int eh oven for the last 30 minutes of the pork's cooking time. Turn the pumpkin frequently to ensure even cooking.
6. Drizzle the pumpkin with maple syrup and return to oven to keep warm until serving time.
7. Once pork is cooked, remove it from the oven and leave to rest for 20 minutes.
While the pumpkin served as a delicious side, I had some potatoes that needed to be used so I made a simple family favorite, potatoes au gratin (aka cheesy potatoes).
Potatoes Au Gratin
1/2 Cup Shredded Swiss Cheese
1 Cup Half and Half
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
3 Tbsp Butter
3 Tbsp Flour
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Paprika
1/2 Tsp Black Pepper
5-6 Medium Yukon Gold Potatoes, Thinly Sliced in Rounds
1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a baking dish, then arrange first layer of potatoes in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle a mix of the Swiss and Parmesan cheese over the layer. Continue layering potatoes and cheese until you have used all potatoes.
2. Whisk half and half with flour, salt, and pepper. Pour over potato and cheese mixture.
3. Put one last layer of cheese on top. Dot butter on top of the cheese and sprinkle paprika over the top.
4. Bank 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours, until top is bubbly and golden brown.
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