The barrage of holiday recipes is ready to begin at any moment. The interwebs will invariably fill up with posts about turkey this and stuffing that…all guaranteed to turn your holiday table into a Norman Rockwell/Martha Stewart mash up. You know who gets left out in the cold by all those posts? People who don’t like turkey.
I’ve gone of the record as being anti turkey. Here’s a few reasons why I do not serve turkey for Thanksgiving:
Reason #63 – It takes too freaking long to cook. The day we set aside to reflect upon the bounty in our lives should not start at the crack of dawn with me muttering and cursing under my breath about the “damn turkey”. I prefer to spend Thanksgiving in the presence of my family and friends, not babysitting a bird in my oven.
Reason #14 – A turkey, even a small one, is too big for the two of us. I know what you’re going to say…but you can freeze the leftovers. I barely have room for frost in my freezer. I’m not taking up precious cubic footage, to store a half eaten bird, that could otherwise be devoted to important things like ice cream and vodka.
Reason #40 – Cider Roasted Pork. This recipe makes me buy apple cider year round. The pork is moist and flavorful and doesn’t require me to hold its hand for five or six hours in the oven. Two pounds of pork is enough for a satisfying dinner and a serving or two of leftovers so it doesn’t wear out its welcome.
Cider Roasted Pork Loin
Adapted from Cooking Light
BAH Note: The cider reduction can be made ahead of time and gently warmed on the stove over a very low flame until you are ready to use it to baste the pork.
- 3 cups apple cider plus 2 cups apple cider
- 3 cups ice
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon coriander
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 pounds pork loin, trimmed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh sage, chopped
Bring 3 cups of cider, salt, pepper, and coriander to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from the heat, add the ice, and cool completely. Transfer the brine to a large zip top bag, add the pork loin, and refrigerate for 8 hour.
When ready to cook, heat the oven to 350 degrees and line a sheet pan with aluminum foil. Insert a cooling rack or broiler pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. Remove pork from brine and place on the prepared rack. Spray the pork lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle the rosemary and sage onto the pork. Bake for 1 hour or until the temperature registers 155 degrees.
While the pork cooks, bring the remaining 2 cups of cider to a boil in a small saucepan. Cook until it reduces to about 1/2 cup.
Use the reduced cider syrup to carefully baste the pork twice during the last 20 minutes of cooking time.