Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Recipe: Orange Peel Pork Roast, and How to Season a Roast

I've been really into making roasts lately, whether it's beef or pork.  They're great because it's an easy way to feed a group of people, or if it's just you then save the leftovers!  Having leftovers is always good, as it saves you a ton of time over the next few days, and you can have a healthy meal ready in just a few minutes.  I just thought of this recipe the other day after buying a bag of oranges, and I was so impressed with how it came out.  It's pure deliciousness, you absolutely must try it!  And BONUS:  You get to eat the orange while it's cooking.

So here are the ingredients, sans the pork roast, which you'll see below.  I like to avoid grocery store meat as much as possible and shop at a local farm, like JT Farms in Ellington.  But if I see a Stop & Shop roast on sale like I did today for $2.99 a pound (!?!?!?), I give in and buy it.  Hey I'm still in school after all... I'm not made of money. 

Prep time:  5-10 minutes
Cook time:  Varies depending on size and type of roast.  This was a 2.2 lb loin roast and it took about 1 hour 10 minutes at 350 degrees.  Here's a nice little chart for you :)

Seasoning a Roast
Basically the only preparation you need to do is to season the pork.  For years, I avoided buying roasts like this because I didn't know how to season it.  Don't let that be you.  It's so easy and fun to season a roast; you have a lot of freedom and you pretty much can't screw it up.  Here's what I used...
  • Italian seasoning mixture
  • Thyme
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika
  • Orange zest (1 orange)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
That's it.  You don't even really need the olive oil, but it works great to bind all the ingredients together and makes it easier to spread onto the roast. Fruity, citrus flavors like orange tend to go great with pork, not so much with beef.  But do some experimenting with it and see which combinations you like best!

1.  Combine the herbs/seasonings, orange zest, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a small mixing bowl.

Looks gross right?  Well that's because I screwed up and didn't include the orange peel in the picture (long story).  And it sorta inherently looks like poop.  No big.  Just wait til you slather it on the roast, it'll look great.  I didn't measure any of the quantities, I never do.  I just go by feel.  As a general rule though, I use a lot of herbs in relation to the other ingredients since they have a mild flavor compared to everything else.

And another tip... when cooking a roast like this you should really use fresh herbs.  The water content of the fresh herbs helps keep the roast juicy, plus they have more flavor.  If you're making something with a lot of water, like rice or soup, dried herbs are more acceptable.  But screw it, dried is all I had.

2.  Spread it all over the top of the roast!

IMPORTANT!  If you're going to cook meat on a regular basis, you NEED a thermometer!  Undercooking can obviously get you sick, but overcooking meat will make it stiff and dry.  You want soft and moist!  For pork, the meat needs to be at least 145 degrees, and the closer you can get to that number, the juicier it will be.  I normally try to catch it just below 140; it continues to cook for a few minutes even after being taken out of the oven, so you'll probably hit 145 anyway.

3.  Bake at 350 degrees until the roast reaches 140-145 degrees F.  This one took a little over an hour.

Look at that scrumptious citrus flavor!  I think I need a better camera, my iPhone doesn't properly display the scrumptiousness.

That's it!  If you've done it right, you have a juicy, delicious roast to share with family or friends, or to hoard for yourself for days to come.  Happy cooking!

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