Sunday, January 16, 2011

Bay-Leaf Crusted Pork

This week's recipe comes again from the The Perfect Pantry. There's a lot of neat recipes in there and I'm sure I'll be going back.  In doing some browsing around, found this pork roast recipe, which challenged me to think of bay leaves as more than something to be fished out of stews, soups and sauces before eating.

8 garlic cloves, peeled
8 dried bay leaves
Coarse salt and ground pepper I have a salt grinder with variable settings like the one pictured here. It's a beautiful thing.
4 medium onions, peeled (root ends left intact), each cut into 8 wedges
3 Tbsp olive oil I used Truffle oil, I thought the earthiness would work well.
1 pork rib roast with 8 ribs (4 1/2 to 5 pounds), backbone removed, ribs Frenched (*see note, below) My roast didn't actually have ribs and weighed closer to three pounds, but I kept the proportions the same.
2 cups fresh parsley leaves I didn't pack it too tightly

1 cup Dijon mustard 

Preheat oven to 375°F. Using a chef's knife, finely chop garlic and bay leaves together. Gather into a pile; sprinkle with 2 tsp coarse salt and 1/2 tsp ground pepper. Using the flat side of the knife blade, mash mixture into a paste. Set aside.

I used my half-moon chopper for this, because it's easy to blend herbs together or herbs with garlic in this case. I also didn't quite get a paste out of it, so I added a little truffle oil. I was able to pick up some very small bottles of it for around fifteen dollars and it has a delightful earthy flavor.

On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss onions with 2 Tbsp oil; season with salt and pepper. Push onions to the edges of baking sheet. Place pork in center of sheet, fatty side up; rub top with remaining oil, and press on garlic mixture, coating evenly.

Even though I had a smaller roast that was in the recipe, I think I'll do ten and ten instead of eight and eight. I didn't have quite enough to cover all of the roast and I chopped everything very finely.

Roast, dabbing occasionally with pan juices, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in center of meat (avoiding bones) registers 140°F (temperature will rise 10 to 15 degrees as roast rests), 65 to 75 minutes. (If browning too quickly, tent loosely with aluminum foil.) Transfer roast and onions to serving platter; let rest, loosely covered with foil, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, blend parsley and mustard until smooth; season with salt and pepper.

This came out delicious. Very juicy pork, the bay leaves and the garlic permeated it well, even though the fatty layer. My sweetie said it was the best pork he'd had in the last twelve months, and that includes a bite of the chop I had at John Besh's steakhouse in New Orleans. Who am I to argue with that?

Questions? Comments? Death threats? A recipe for me to try? I'd love to hear from you!

Next week I'm making chili and I think I'm stealing a variation from Austin the former landlord. He made a batch this weekend that included Italian sausage as well as stew meat and it was just lovely. I'll let you know how it goes!

Thanks, as always, for reading.

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