Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Honey-Thyme Roasted Pork Loin

This dish, from Serious Eats, had been in my bookmarks for a long time. I ended up putting it off because I try to eat chicken instead of pork most of the time, and I had recently made roasted pork tenderloin with mustard and herbes de Provence at the Engineer’s request. But then I decided that since pork tenderloin is practically white meat, I could give myself permission to have it more often to get through some of those recipes (hence the recent pork with apple and mushroom sauce). This pork was a hit! The Engineer said it had a delicate, light flavor, and he enjoyed it very much as well. I would say that the chicken broth sauce is good, but optional. I served the dish with honey-roasted red potatoes (sensing a theme?). If you do the same thing, I’d recommend putting the pork in the oven at the same time as the potatoes, as the potatoes should then finish roasting while the pork is resting.

a 1 ¼-lb. pork tenderloin
kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3 tablespoons fresh thyme
¼ cup thyme or lavender honey (I used lavender honey from Bleu Lavande)
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature (or margarine)
¼ cup low-sodium organic chicken stock

Preheat the oven to 375 °F. Take the pork out of the fridge 15 minutes before you want to use it. Pat it dry with a paper towel, and season the pork liberally on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, sear the pork until golden brown on all sides, about 3 minutes per sides, or 12 minutes total. Take the pork out of the pan, and add the chicken stock. Scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, and reserve the sauce.

While the pork is searing, whisk together the thyme, honey, and butter until completely incorporated. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Carefully rub the mixture all over the outside of the seared pork.

Place the honeyed pork on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet that has been lightly oiled. Use a spoon to pour any of the honey mixture that runs off the meat back on top of the pork loin. Pour the chicken stock from the searing pan into the baking sheet. Roast the pork in the oven until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145 °F. (I see this in many recipes, and while it is true that pork is best when still rosy inside, I tend to trust my digital thermometer, which recommends 170 °F.) Take the pork out of the oven, tent with foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Slice into medallions, and serve with the pan sauce and a few extra sprigs of fresh thyme.

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