Happy New Year! Start it off deliciously with this quick and easy boneless pork loin recipe. You’ll be licking this gravy off the plate!
Yes, it’s very true. I have a thing for saucy meats. While my husband can dig in to a plain piece of pork or chicken and find it perfectly acceptable, I find it dry, chewy and boring. (Except maybe for a lovely piece of beef that’s been expertly cooked someone other than me, since I’m definitely not an expert in that department ;) Anyway, I doubt my saucy tendencies will be changing any time soon and besides, a plain piece of cooked meat wouldn’t be very interesting on a food blog now would it?
This recipe caught my eye after my recent great results with a similar cut of pork that was braised on the stove-top. Unlike the previous one that used wine though, this one uses milk and cream for the braising liquid. I was so intrigued, so I picked myself up a little pork loin (about 1 1/2 lbs. and only $6!) and gave it a go. And here is what you need to know about this dish … you will be licking this gravy off the plate and you will not care if anyone is watching.
A couple of tips for this recipe … look for a pork loin with a bit of a fat cap on top, but not a lot. If necessary, trim a bit off. Some of the fat will render off when the pork sears (and will be poured off), but it’s good to have a bit that will linger to flavour the gravy with the meat juices and milk.
Secondly, be sure to use a heavy-bottomed pan for this one (a Dutch oven) or your milk might scorch.
Finally, be sure to use a wooden spoon to really scrape the bottom of the pan once you remove the meat. Keep stirring and scraping. There’s a layer of browned goodness under there and you want to loosen it all!
This recipe will serve 3-4. If you use a larger pork loin to feed more, simply double (or scale up) the milk/cream and sage etc.
- 1 1/2 lb. (700g) boneless center-cut pork loin
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 3 tbsp. butter (DIVIDED)
- Leaves from 1 bunch fresh sage, roughly chopped, about 5 large leaves (DIVIDED)
- 1 cup whole milk (3.5%)
- 1 cup heavy/whipping cream (35%)
- Strips of zest from 1/3 of a lemon
- Heat oil and 1 tbsp. of the butter in a medium heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until butter melts. Add pork, fat side down, and cook until browned on all sides, 2–3 minutes per side.
- Pour off fat from casserole, reduce heat to medium, and add the remaining 2 tbsp. of the butter. When butter melts, add half the sage leaves and fry for a few seconds. Slowly add milk and cream (**Hands well back, as it will spatter and steam!) Add lemon zest, season with a bit of salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low to low, partially cover pot with lid, and gently simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning pork after 30 minutes. If liquid in pot gets too low, add a splash of warm water. Check meat for doneness starting at about 45-50 minutes of cooking time, with a meat thermometer. It is done when it reaches 145-150° F. Remove meat to a cutting board and tent with foil. Let rest.
- Meanwhile, add the remaining sage leaves to the pot and using a wooden spoon, stir and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen all the browned goodness at the bottom. As you do, the gravy will gradually become darker and thicker. If it gets too thick, add a bit more milk to thin. Taste and add salt and pepper, to taste.
- After meat has rested 10 minutes or so, thinly slice and place on a serving patter. Spoon warm sauce over meat.
Adapted from Saveur January 2009