Apple Cider Braised Pork Loin

Brunel had been pestering me, I mean inspiring me, to make some sort of pork dish. He also likes the whole meat instead of shredding it so I had to find a recipe that didn’t call for hours of cooking, and also enough of a flavor profile for the meat to be the star. Oh I found it all right. I love this recipe because it doesn’t require a lot, but imparts tons of flavor into the meat and anything else you put with it. I pretty much followed the recipe, except I didn’t have thyme so I left it out. I’m sure that would have been even better, but alas, I did what I could. I also loved the marinade the recipe calls for. I may adopt this (with slight variations) for a lot of my marinades because it very simple and basic, but really adds a lot of depth. When the meat was cooked I set it aside to rest and then took the juice with the onions and reduced it to make it a sauce. Extra caramelization of the onions is always good, plus a dash of salt to counteract the sweetness of the cider. I didn’t make the applesauce because we were too hungry but I’d like to try it at some point.

I’d like to note that there is some discrepancy between apple cider and apple juice. My dad still believes that apple cider is the same as apple juice. I don’t blame him because the bottle I got said apple juice on it and the actual apple juice said apple cider. I will make this abundantly clear. Apple cider is UNFILTERED. It’s the one that’s not clear and has a bunch of stuff at the bottom. Apple juice is FILTERED and looks clear and clean.

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Ingredients
2 sprigs rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
2 sprigs sage, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed
Pinch crushed red pepper
Salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 (6-chop) pork rib roast
2 large onions, sliced
1 bundle thyme, tied with string
3 bay leaves
2 quarts apple cider
Chunky Applesauce, recipe follows
Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In a food processor, combine the chopped herbs with the garlic, crushed red pepper, a generous pinch of salt and enough olive oil to make a paste. Brush the paste on the outside of the pork rib roast.

Toss the onions with olive oil, and salt, and place in the bottom of a roasting pan. Add the thyme, bay leaves and 2/3 of the cider. Place the pork on top of the onions and place in the preheated oven. Roast the pork at 425 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes or until the pork has developed a lovely brown crust. Check the pork, stir the onions and cider if they are starting to burn. Add more cider when the level starts to go down.

Lower the oven to 375 degrees F and roast for another 30 to 35 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer reads 150 degrees F. If the crust on the pork starts to get too dark, cover it with foil. Remove 1 1/2 cups of the cider from the bottom of the roasting pan and reserve for the applesauce.

Let the pork rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. When ready to carve remove the pork from the bone and cut the loin into thin slices. Serve with the onions braised in cider and Chunky Applesauce.

Chunky Applesauce:
3 tablespoons butter
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks (toss the apples in lemon juice if not using right away)
1 1/2 cups of the reserved cider from the Roasted Pork Loin with Cider
1/4 cup apple cider
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
Melt the butter in a saucepan large enough to accommodate the apples. Add the apples and saute over medium-low heat until the apples start to soften. Add the reserved cider, apple cider and cinnamon and cook over low-medium heat until most of the cider has evaporated and the apples are cooked and very soft.

Add the heavy cream and walnuts and cook until the cream has reduced by half. The end result should be a very chunky, sweet/savory applesauce.

I got this from the Food Network

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Eggs Benedict and Enchiladas

So I have an obsession with challah…I mean, if you’ve ever tasted challah there is no reason why you should be eating white or wheat bread (unless you want to actually eat healthily). It’s not only delicious but very versatile. One night I made a salmon sandwich with it and the next it’s sitting under my poached eggs. Speaking of poached eggs, this was my second attempt in my life and I think they came out pretty well. Besides the meat you put on top of an eggs benedict, the other, possibly forgotten, item you shouldn’t skimp on is what goes between the bread and the eggs. Last time I put jam, and this time I put spicy mustard. Either way, don’t forget it!

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I know this is not in the realm of brunch but I have to share a good way of using leftovers. We made this dish so many times that the leftovers concoction became a regular staple on our dinner menu. You may not have a Haitian living in your house. That is ok, you don’t need a Haitian for you to make Haitian chicken (or whichever way you love to make chicken). But if you want to make it Haitian-style, I’ll share a must-have mixture you can use to flavor most meats. There aren’t approximate measurements, but you take some scallions, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper (a quarter of the pepper or so because it’s really spicy!), cilantro and olive oil, blend it together and you have a nice green meat paste. You take that seasoning, plus whatever other spices you like (brunel prefers paprika and celery salt), throw it on the chicken and then bake it at 300 deg for 45 minutes. Brunel and I then put that shredded chicken onto a tortilla with shredded cheese, corn, and little bit of El Paso salsa. We line them up on a baking sheet, pour the rest of the salsa over them with some cheese, bake for 10 minutes at a low heat and TADA! Enchiladas! Clearly, there are many possibilities of seasoning and sauces, which is why I think it’s great to have it in your back pocket to pull out for many types of occasions.

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Chilled tomato and stone fruit soup with veal breast in a red wine and mustard jus

If its the middle of summer and you want a no-cook, amazingly fresh and flavorful soup, than this is it. I, of course, found it while browsing through my bon appetit magazine, but it turns out it’s from one of my favorite restaurants in New York City- Gramercy Tavern. You don’t even have to turn on the stove, which is great, and I just used my blender to get the consistency I wanted and it worked just fine. Again, I want to emphasize the importance of getting fresh produce. (Local and organic are a plus, but if you can’t, It’s not a huge deal-breaker). I made half of everything in the recipe just because it makes 6 servings and there are just 2 of us, (though brunel often counts as 2 people because of his muscles and ridiculous appetite) but after I tasted that I added a little extra of the fruit and cucumber to really bring that fresh, sweet flavor out. If this hasn’t made you want to get up and make it right now, you should make it because I said so 🙂

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INGREDIENTS

2 lb. beefsteak tomatoes (about 4) quartered
1 large English hothouse cucumber, peeled, seeded, cut into pieces
1 large ripe peach, peeled, halved
½ jalapeño, seeded (or with seeds for a spicier soup), chopped
½ garlic clove
1 cup fresh (or frozen, thawed) cherries (about 8 oz.), pitted
2 Tbsp. (or more) white balsamic or Sherry vinegar
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more
1½ tsp. kosher salt plus more
Freshly ground black pepper
Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)

PREP

Pulse tomatoes in a blender until finely chopped and transfer to a large bowl. Pulse cucumber, peach, jalapeño, garlic, and cherries in blender until finely chopped and add to bowl with tomatoes. Mix in vinegar, ¼ cup oil, 1½ tsp. kosher salt, and 1 cup cold water; season with pepper. Cover and let sit at room temperature 1 hour, or chill at least 12 hours.

Season soup with kosher salt, pepper, and more oil and vinegar, if desired. Serve soup drizzled with oil and seasoned with sea salt and pepper.

Soup can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.

From my favorite BA magazine

Brunel, being the person who can’t have a meal without protein…I mean meat, lightly fried (not breaded!) a veal breast and made a nice hearty sauce to accompany. For that you sauté a shallot for a few minutes, add a cup of red wine, let it reduce by half, add a cup of beef broth, let that reduce by half, and add a dollup of any nice grainy mustard you have on hand (we have a horseradish mustard that gave a nice kick to it). And of course salt and pepper to taste. Make sure you let it reduce long enough; you’ll know by its thick consistency and won’t be watery at all (if you really need to add a pinch of flour).

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