Garlic and Rosemary Balsamic Roasted Pork Loin and Potatoes…

The one thing I really love about Fall is cranking up the oven again. I do a lot of grilling over the Summer and I love that too. But those smells in the house when something is roasting in the oven just can’t be beat. It makes a house a home.

So I decided to crank up the oven the other day. I haven’t had pork in a while and I thought I’d try that. More often than not when I make a pork roast I use a pork loin. The meat is so tender and I perfected roasting it so that it’s cooked but not dried out. And if you want my secret for roasting a perfect pork loin every time just click on my blog’s tips and tricks post and you’ll never have a dry pork loin roast again.

But although pork loin is moist I find it always needs a little help in the flavor department. And whether you marinate it or use some sort of rub, that’s usually enough to up the flavor factor. And that’s exactly what this recipe does.

I also like this recipe because for all intents and purposes it is a one pot meal. You can also make your potatoes and carrots in the same roasting pan and I’ve always liked that convenience. You just have to follow a couple of tips in order to make sure they cook properly.

So let’s talk garlic and rosemary balsamic roasted pork loin and potatoes…

Lesson Learned 1: Slightly par boil your potatoes before roasting them: I don’t know about you but I’ve found that roasting potatoes can be tricky. I usually wind up with hard or semi hard potatoes that are not cooked through. In this recipe it is important to cut the potatoes as evenly as possible (mine were approximately one inch squares). Once I do that I put them in a pot with water, bring the water to a boil and boil the potatoes for about 5 minutes or just until they start to turn tender around the edges. Then I drain the potatoes and let me cool slightly in the strainer. I’ve found when I do this my potatoes come out perfectly when making this recipe. After I strain off the water I transfer them into a bowl so that I can coat them with the balsamic mixture before putting them in the roasting pan. It’s a little extra work, but definitely worth it.

The same rule applies for when I use sliced potatoes in a casserole. I used my mandolin slicer to get even slices. Then I par boil them just for a couple of minutes before adding them to a casserole dish that is ready to go into the oven. Try this little trick and you’ll have beautifully roasted potatoes all the time.

Lesson Learned 2 – This recipe roasts the carrots to crisp tender: Carrots are also tricky to cook and although I prefer mine to be crisp tender, some people prefer their carrots to be soft. If soft is your preference roasting them this way will not give you that consistency unless you either cut them into thin rounds or use small baby carrots. I cut my carrots into about 2 inch chunks, cut each chunk into half and then half again. This produced a somewhat softened crisp tender carrot, which I love.

You can also do the par boiling trick described above for larger carrots if you want them to be soft. That might be a little too much muss and fuss for one recipe. But it’s totally up to you. Just something to think about…

Lesson Learned 3 – Browning the pork loin is totally your preference: Some recipes call for browning your pork loin before roasting it. It helps to seal in the juices. The reason I say this is totally your preference is that if you cook your pork loin according to my directions you will always get a juicy pork loin without browning it ahead of time. Plus when you add the balsamic mixture you cannot tell if the roast has been browned or not. So why bother. The choice is yours.

Lesson Learned 4 – Make the balsamic mixture in your mini food processor: This is really the easiest way to ensure all the ingredients are well combined. Combine them in the processor until the mixture becomes paste-like as seen below. Then you’re ready to go…

And that’s it. This recipe is a Fall classic. Try it and tell me what you think…

Garlic & Rosemary Balsamic Roasted Pork Loin & Potatoes...

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 pound boneless pork loin

3 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 inch square pieces (can also use 2 pounds of baby reds)

3-4 large carrots cut into chunks, then halved and halved again (or 1 bag of small baby carrots not cut)

1/4 cup good olive oil, plus 1 Tb. for the carrots

3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

5 large garlic cloves (or 10 small), smashed

1/2 cup fresh rosemary leaves

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

1 tsp. Herbs De Provence

Cooking spray

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 375. Peel, chop and par boil the potatoes for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Combine olive oil, vinegar, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper in a food processor until it forms a paste.

Coat the pork loin on all sides with the balsamic mixture. (You will have some left over for the potatoes). Lightly grease a large roasting pan with cooking spray. Place the pork loin in the center of the roasting pan. Coat the potatoes with the remaining balsamic mixture. Place them on one side of the pork loin.

Coat the carrots with olive oil and season them with salt and pepper and Herbs De Provence. Place the carrots on the other side of the pork loin.

Roast for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and cover with foil for 5 minutes. Transfer the roast to a cutting board, slice and serve with the potatoes and carrots.

 

 

 

Balsamic Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

As I’ve mentioned may times before, I am a big fan of Pinterest especially as it comes to finding recipes. What I like about the site is one’s ability through “pins” to access websites that might not come to the top of a Google search, so you’re basically connecting with little known sites that you may never have found otherwise. And I have found these sites to be great resources for information and new ideas  for the kitchen.

So as I was browsing Pinterest the other day I came across the pin for a recipe called balsamic parmesan roasted cauliflower. It was pinned from the website http://www.kidneybuzz.com. Now doesn’t balsamic parmesan roasted cauliflower sound divine? And since I’m always looking for new ways to roast vegetables I just had to give the recipe a try.

When I evaluate recipes I look for a few simple things. First, are the directions clear – second, is it easy to prepare – third, can you be successful the very first time you make it, and fourth, did the recipe tell you everything you needed to know (as I find quite often recipes do not – especially where chefs-in-training are concerned). So here is my rating and lessons learned making this recipe:

Rating: C- with the potential for an A. I have never been so psyched to make a recipe and been so disappointed. I’m getting to the point though where I am starting to trust my own instincts versus just doing what is written. After some interesting lessons learned I would try this recipe again, as I do believe it has the potential to be an “A” rated recipe.

Balsamic Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

Balsamic Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

Lesson Learned 1: This recipe called for cooking the cauliflower from 20-30 minutes at 450. I will tell you right now if you do that you will have limp overcooked cauliflower. I’ve roasted cauliflower before and never over 400. But I thought, ok, I’ll compromise. I’ll roast it at 425. Big mistake!! The cauliflower came limp and overdone. I like my roasted vegetables to have some crispness to them. If you like them limp then cook them longer. In my opinion (and I roasted rather large florets) 15 – 20 minutes max at 400 is my recommendation.

Lesson Learned 2: This recipe does not tell you how to roast with balsamic vinegar, and that can be tricky. The proportions are perfectly fine, but you need to make sure that the cauliflower is primarily coated and not the pan. Otherwise you will have a sticky, gooey hard to clean mess because (unless this is different in high altitude) balsamic vinegar doesn’t evaporate as the recipe suggests, it burns especially in any concentrated amounts. That’s why I say make sure the cauliflower is covered in it and you don’t leave a puddle of it in your pan. If you do, clean up will be a nightmare (and in my opinion they should tell you these things in a recipe). I would also either spray your pan with cooking spray or line it with foil so that any balsamic that does not “evaporate” can be easily cleaned.

Lesson Learned 3: Tossing the cauliflower half-way through the cooking process is a must. That way you will get an even caramelization and the cauliflower won’t looked burnt. So, toss half-way through and don’t add the vinegar and cheese until the last five minutes.

Lesson Learned 4: Obviously this was not a recipe that turned out well the first time making it. I overcooked it and wound up with a gooey mess in my pan. That being said, it still had an interesting flavor, almost sweet. So I am definitely going to try this again as I think it has great potential.

I hope my lessons learned help you have more success the first time you try this recipe. I plan to continue to play with it until I get it right. When I do I will either update this blog or post a new one referencing this. I am a big fan of roasted vegetable but you have to get the cooking time and temperature just right, otherwise you have a limp burnt mess.