Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Roasted Pork Loin with Veggies, Potato Mash and Reduced Balsamic Glaze

I was craving veggies and pork the other night, but needed to keep the budget LOW, and the flavor HIGH.  I ended up just throwing this meal together and was so happy with how it turned out that I thought I'd tell you about it.

I am notorious for over-cooking pork. But I decided to go against my pork-cooking fears and cooked it for less time than I usually do, and let it rest for 10 minutes. It was SO moist - slightly pink inside. Just perfect.  If you are as afraid of pork cooking as I was, here's an article on the newly revised pork-cooking temps by the FDA: Click here to see the article!  Just be sure the inner temp gets up to at least 145 degrees to be safe.

I'd never made a balsamic reduction before and didn't want to take the time of looking for instructions on the internet. If you decide to Google it, you may find that I did it completely wrong, but ignorance is bliss because the taste was divine over the pork and mash.

Now... as for the mash....if you have a mashed potato recipe you love, then go ahead and make it. I would say that I haven't yet mastered the mashing of potatoes....but these turned out purty darned good.

Here's what I did:


For the roast:
olive oil
3 carrots, peeled and chopped into large chunks
3 parsnips, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 shallots, roughly chopped
1 yellow onion, cut into large chunks
fresh thyme leaves, removed from stems (about 2 sprigs)
1 small pork loin (plain - not pre-marinated)
2 cloves of garlic, minced fine
2 TBL dijon mustard
salt and pepper

For the side (obviously)
1 TBL olive oil
1 small head of broccoli, cut into slices

For the mash:
2 Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3 TBL butter for the mash
dash of heavy cream for the mash

1/2 C balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp sugar
1 sprig of thyme left whole
2 TBL butter


1. Heat the oven to 350, with the top rack in the upper third of the oven.

2. Rinse the loin and pat it dry. Do not cut off any of the fat! Season it all over with just a little bit of salt and pepper. Chop the garlic and thyme leaves at the same time, then mix that with the Dijon in a small bowl. Slather the loin with the Dijon/garlic/thyme mixture.

3. In a small roasting pan, drizzle a little olive oil (about 1 TBL), and put the loin in the middle of the pan (I think my pan was about 12 x 15). Put the veggies all around it and give them a  little salt and pepper.  Don't pack them don't want them to steam.

4. Put the roast in the oven for 30 minutes.  When the timer goes off, take it out and cover the pan with foil and the loin and veggies sit for 10 minutes.

5. Get some water boiling and then put the potatoes in for about 15 minutes, or until you can easily slide a knife into them. When they are done, drain them in a colander and put them back in the hot pot off the heat. Add the butter and the cream, and mash until creamy (don't over mash or beat the life outta them or they will become like glue.    Icky.

6. Put the balsamic vinegar, sprig of thyme. sugar and just a PINCH of pepper in a saucepan and heat until it is simmering.  NOTE: Turn on the stove fan and keep your face outta the pan - trust me on will take your breath away!). Let it simmer until it is reduced and syrupy, about 20 minutes. Afterward, take it off the heat, remove the thyme and gently whisk in the butter. It should be smooth and silky.

This is before the butter......

7. Heat up a large saucepan, on medium high. THEN, add 1 TBL olive oil and immediately add the broccoli. Cook, stirring a lot, until the broccoli has browned at the edges and is "al dente", about 5 - 8 minutes.

To serve, lay down some mash, top it with some sliced pork and balsamic glaze, put those veggies on the side and dig in!!

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