This Pork Loin with Wine and Herb Gravy is absolutely delicious and in my opinion, the best pork loin recipe ever! Cooked with wine, garlic and herbs, then sliced thin with a beautiful gravy, this pork is easy enough for any night, but also a company worthy dinner dish!
Let’s face it. We all need a break from chicken once in a while. So I think pork. It’s the other white meat. But pork, true … sometimes a little boring. Well not any more! If you’re not one already, this dish will turn you in to a pork lover. I guarantee it.
But first, a little pork cut refresher …
What is the difference between a pork loin and a pork tenderloin?
Most people are familiar with pork tenderloin. It’s the small, long, thin and boneless cut of pork that’s popular for it’s quick cooking and a lovely tender meat. Pork tenderloins come from the side of the animal.
A pork loin is different from a pork tenderloin. While it shares the “loin” name, it is a completely different cut and comes from a different part of the animal – the back. Pork loins are larger and thicker. Pork loins are roasts, intended to be be cooked low and slow. Because the loin (back) area is large, there are several different loin cuts that you will find at the grocery or butcher, depending if the roast is cut from the end or the center.
Probably the easiest way to understand the difference is to think of pork the same way you think of beef. Pork tenderloin is equivalent to beef tenderloin – small, tender and meant to be cooked hot and fast. Pork loin roasts are like beef roasts. There are a number of types of roasts, depending on where the cut is from and which one you use will depend on what you are making.
I made this with a small, center cut pork loin roast. Look for a pork loin roast that is labeled “center cut”. It is lovely solid, tender meat, with little to no fat in the meat itself. Think of it as the equivalent to a sirloin beef roast. Nice when you want a solid, tender slice of pork. Look for one with a little bit of a fat cap (1/2-inch or so) is nice, if you can find that, as it will keep the meat moist and add great flavour to the gravy.
I you prefer, you could use a pork tenderloin or two for this recipe (and it would cook much more quickly, too). You’ll want about 2 lbs. of either. There’s also fresh herbs and while I’m usually flexible with swapping out dried herbs for fresh, this is one recipe where you really want to use fresh. When you smell it cooking, you’ll understand why. Heavenly! And there’s no way that dried herbs can compete with that. It’s worth it just for the smell while it’s cooking, but the way they flavour the meat and the finished gravy is one of the nicest parts of this recipe.
Cook’s Notes for Pork Loin with Wine and Herb Gravy
I know some people don’t have, drink or cook with wine. If that describes you, this may not be the recipe for you. It has a lot of wine in it and it’s so critical to the flavour, I honestly can’t think of a suitable substitute. This one is all about the wine and fresh herbs.
As for the wine, use a decent one (maybe not the part-bottle that’s been at the back of the fridge for a few weeks and yes, I’ve been guilty of doing that ;) Crack open a fresh bottle, one you love to drink. My son, after tasting this dish, thought a California chardonnay would be a perfect choice. Since he’s the budding sommelier in the family, I’d take that as a solid recommendation, if you don’t already have a favourite white wine you’d like to use.
So now that I’ve said all that, I guess it’s obvious that this isn’t a quick, weeknight meal. That said, it’s not a huge time investment either. It does require peeking at it a few times as it cooks on the stove-top, but other than that, it’s an easy one-pot meal. It’s perfect for a weekend dinner or entertaining.
As for what to serve with it, creamy mashed potatoes would be nice or buttered noodles. I’m tempted to try it with gnocchi too, for some reason. Or forgo the carbs and just enjoy it with a nice green veg.
This recipe uses a Dutch oven. A Dutch oven is just a fancy name for a large, heavy-bottomed pot. The heavy bottom is perfect for dishes that will cook a long time, as it prevents scorching. Typically, Dutch ovens are cast-iron or enameled cast iron. They are usually stove-top and oven safe. My Dutch oven is one of the most used pots in my kitchen, but you don’t have to spend a lot to add a great one to your kitchen as well. Here are some great, affordable Dutch oven options …
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Pork Loin with Wine and Herb Gravy
- 1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
- 2 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 lb center cut boneless pork loin (or two 1 lb. pork tenderloins)
- 1 1/4 cups dry white wine (plus a bit more to deglaze pan)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup chicken broth or stock
- 1/2 cup heavy cream (or a lighter cream mixed with 2 tsp. cornstarch)
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Saute the garlic, rosemary and sage, stirring, for about one minute. Add the pork loin to the pan, carefully placing it on top of the herbs. Saute the pork for about 5 minutes on each side, then remove it to a plate. Add the wine to the pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan. Cook until the smell of the alcohol has disappeared, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Lower the heat under the pan to low-medium heat. Return the pork to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Partially cover with a lid and cook for about 1 1/2 hours (probably less if you're using pork tenderloins), flipping the pork and scraping the bottom of the pan every 20 minutes or so. Keep an eye on it, making sure there continues to be some liquid in the pan. Add 1/4 cup of warm water if necessary.
When the pork is cooked through (if you want to test with a thermometer, it should be about 140-145° internal temperature.) Remove pork to a cutting board to rest and cover with loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil to help retain the heat while it rests.
Meanwhile, increase the heat under the liquid in the pan to medium. If your pan has little liquid, deglaze with a splash of white wine. Stir well to loosen the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Allow to cook until the alcohol smell disappears (about 1-2 minutes). Add the chicken stock and stir to combine. Heat over medium heat a few minutes, to allow the chicken stock to heat through a bit. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the cream. Heat gently over medium-low heat, stirring the sauce constantly, until it thickens a bit and is warmed through. Avoid vigorously boiling. A gentle simmer is fine. (*If your sauce doesn't thicken up, mix 2 Tbsp. cornstarch with 2 Tbsp. water and add a bit at a time to your sauce until it thickens to your liking.) Taste sauce and add salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.
When the sauce is ready, slice the pork very thinly and place on to a serving platter. Pour the warm gravy over-top to serve.