For extra-special occasions, I enhance my basic Herb-Rubbed Pork Loin (recipe at right) by first brining the roast, which results in extremely tender meat. Then I top slices with a robust wine sauce.—Robin Schloesser, Chester, New Jersey
- 8 cups water
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 6 fresh thyme sprigs
- 3 fresh rosemary sprigs
- 3 fresh sage sprigs
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon fennel seed
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
- 1 boneless whole pork loin roast (4 pounds)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons each minced fresh marjoram, rosemary, sage and thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup butter, cubed
- 3 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1-1/2 cups port wine
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon browning sauce, optional
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons cold water
- In a Dutch oven, combine the first 10 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from the heat; cool brine to room temperature.
- Place a 2-gallon resealable plastic bag inside a second resealable bag; add roast. Carefully pour cooled brine into bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible; seal bags and turn to coat. Place in a large bowl. Refrigerate for 18-24 hours, turning occasionally.
- Drain and discard brine; pat roast dry. In a small bowl, combine the oil, herbs and pepper; rub over pork. Place roast on a rack in a large shallow roasting pan. Pour water into pan. Bake at 350° for 1 hour 20 minutes or until a thermometer reads 145°.
- For sauce, melt butter in a large saucepan. Add shallots; cook and stir until tender. Stir in wine and bay leaf. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced by half. Stir in the broth, vinegar and sugar. Cook, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes or until slightly thickened.
- Stir in the cream, thyme, salt, pepper and browning sauce if desired. Discard bay leaf. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; gradually stir into the pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
- Transfer roast to a serving platter. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with sauce. Yield: 12 servings (2 cups sauce).
Originally published as Brined Pork Roast with Port Wine Sauce in Taste of Home Christmas Annual Annual 2010, p51
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