Fresh rosemary, fennel seeds and orange zest form a savory herb rub for this pork loin roast and slivers of garlic randomly poked into the meat before it is roasted guarantee each slice is savory and flavorful.
I like pork loin roast because it’s an affordable alternative to beef and it’s mild flavor takes on the flavors of whatever you are seasoning it with. This recipe involves just a few ingredients to make the rub and a fresh cranberry sauce enhanced with currants, dried apricots and a pinch of orange zest and rosemary to compliment the pork roast rub.
If you’re not familiar with pork loin roast, it comes from the center of the pig so it’s more tender than other cuts like the shoulder that get lots of movement and have connective tissue. Connective tissue needs liquid and heat to break down for the meat to be tender. But not with the loin roast. Dry heat is all that is needed.
If you’re worried about how to tell when the pork is done, invest in an instant reading food thermometer. They are available at kitchen stores and many grocery stores. How they work is by poking them into the center of a meat roast they instantly register the interior temperature taking any guesswork out of testing for doneness.
For cooking pork safely, the official recommendation is an end temperature of at least 145 degrees F. with a 3 minute resting time. So I cook mine to 145 to 150 degrees F. and let it rest several minutes under a piece of foil to keep it warm. Remember, the internal temperature will continue to rise as your meat “rests” under a piece of foil. Resting helps settle the juices in the meat so they don’t end up all over the cutting board when you slice it. I begin checking the internal temperature after about 45 minutes of cooking. Then I can estimate about how much more time it needs.
- Rub for Pork:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 3 lb boneless pork loin roast
- 3 cloves garlic
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Cranberry Sauce:
- 1 cup Water
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 cups fresh cranberries (12 ounce bag)
- ⅓ cup currants
- ⅓ cup chopped dried apricots
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or ½ teaspoon dried
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- For the rub, stir together olive oil, rosemary, orange zest and fennel; set aside.
- For studding the pork with garlic, cut each garlic clove into thin slivers, there should be about 12. Using the tip of a paring knife make random pokes in the top and sides of the pork (pokes should be the length of the sliver of garlic); insert garlic all the way into slits.
- Season pork all over with salt and pepper. Rub fennel rub on top and sides of pork (pork can be made ahead to this point and refrigerated several hours ahead before roasting. Remove pork from refrigerator 20 to 30 minutes before roasting).
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Put pork on a rack and set rack in a roasting pan or put pork directly in pan.
- Roast pork for 15 minutes, then turn heat down to 325 degrees F and roast until the internal temperature when measured at the thickest part is 145 to 150 degrees F., about 1 hour (check internal temperature of pork after 45 minutes).
- Remove pork from oven and cover loosely with foil, allowing it to "rest" (resting allows juices to settle in meat before slicing).
- For the cranberry Sauce, bring water and sugar to a boil in a saucepan and add cranberries; reduce heat to low and simmer until cranberries are opened and softened, about 10 minutes (sauce will thicken as it cools to room temperature). Remove from heat and stir in currants, apricots, rosemary and orange zest.
- Slice pork and serve with Cranberry Sauce.