Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Roast Pork in a Convection Oven

Finished pork with apples
Pork is a traditional "lucky food" served on New Years Day and one I have had on New Years Day since a was a child. Since we were having a small dinner party on New Years, I decided that I wanted a roast pork loin. I wanted to find a large roast and was not able to, instead I brought two small roasts.

My problem turned into an opportunity. I decided to roast the pork two different ways and see which one we liked better.

I made a roast smothered in garlic, rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper with a rosemary chimichurri adapted from a Fine Cooking grill roasted beef recipe (if you haven't tried it, it is amazing -- one of my many favorites available here: http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/pepper-crusted-beef-roast.aspx) and a pork loin wrapped in bacon served with apples and a red currant sauce.

I adapted the basic recipe for a regular oven for a convection oven. I like the convection oven for roasting meats because I think the circulating air makes a crisp crust with the juices held in. To get the crispy crust I used to cook roasts at 450 degrees for a short period of time and then reduce the temperature. With a convection oven I can cook the roast at a constant temperature and get the same result. The trick is getting the temperature and cooking times correct.

Recipes

Garlic Rosemary Pork

Mix together in a small bowl: 2 cloves of garlic (minced); 2 tablespoons of chopped rosemary; Kosher salt to taste; freshly ground pepper to taste; and one dried red pepper ground (add the red pepper only if you want some spice).

Rub for pork


Rub the mixture on the pork and roast in a convection oven at 325 F/163 C) for approximately 20 minutes per pound until the meat thermometer reaches 160 F/71 C. Remove from oven, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let sit for 15 minutes before cutting.

The pork is read for the oven
Rosemary Chimichurri

Sauté 2 tablespoons of chopped rosemary (fresh not dried) in 1/4 cup of olive oil for 2 minutes. Remove from stove and let cool. Once it is cool, add 3 tablespoons of vinegar (white or white wine), 2 cloves of minced garlic, and 1/2 cup of chopped parsley, and freshly ground pepper (to taste). Serve with the pork.

Bacon Wrapped Pork

I thought what could be better than pork wrapped in bacon. The trick was to have the bacon cooked when the pork was done. I thought of two different ways to do this -- one was to wrap the pork in bacon and sear the pork in a pan prior to putting it in the oven. The second was to slightly cook the bacon before wrapping the pork with it.

I imagined doing the first method and the grease splatters on the stove and me, and I chose the second method. I cooked the bacon slightly before putting on the pork (2 minutes on high in the microwave). To add extra flavor, I made a paste of minced garlic, Kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper to rub on the roast before I wrapped the roast in bacon. I pinned the bacon in place with toothpicks.
Roast covered in garlic, salt and pepper. It's ready for the bacon
Roast with bacon held in place with toothpicks
I cooked the pork at 325 F/163 C) in a convection oven for approximately 20 minutes per pound.

Red Currant Onion Relish

While the pork was roasting, I sauteed half of an onion chopped in 2 tablespoons of butter until the onions started to caramelize. I added 1/2 jar of red currant jelly to the onions and warmed.

Finished red currant onion relish
Apples

During the last 10 minutes of cooking,  put some chopped granny smith apples (I used 3) in the convection oven in the same pan the pork and roasted them slightly.

I served the bacon pork with the red currant onion relish and apples.The red currant onion relish is amazing. I had to taste it to make sure it was good and found myself tasting it multiple times.


Which Pork is Better?

The results-- everyone liked both of the pork roasts. Some people liked the bacon wrapped pork better others the herb smothered pork. Everyone liked the currant onion relish and the chimichurri. My favorite was the bacon pork, with apples, and currant onion relish.


Pork with bacon, apples, and red currant relish. I served it with a side of sour cream mashed potatoes.

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