Thursday, February 1, 2018

Glazed Roast Loin of Pork

Over the holidays, my amazing family and I paid a visit to Colonial Williamsburg.  I have always been a very big history buff, and, spending some time along the main road (East Duke of Glouchester Street) is a very enjoyable time for me.  While I like visiting the different period shops, it is the taverns that really get my attention.  Places like Josiah Chowning's Tavern and the Kings Arms Tavern.  Each trip inevitably includes a visit for a meal at one of those establishments.  As I sit in the restaurant, I try to let my mind wander a little and picture what it would have been like  during the Revolutionary War era.  

The history buff and the cooking buff could not pass up an opportunity to buy The Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook.  And, after every visit to the colonial town, I get the urge to make something out of the book.  I have already made Hoppin John, which was for New Year's Day.  The claim that eating Hoppin John on that day is supposed to bring good luck. 

Well, this year, I decided to double down on the wish for good luck.  It is also claimed that eating pork on New Year's Day is supposed to bring good luck as well.  So, I decided to make this Glazed Roast Loin of Pork dish from the Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook.  The cookbook does not provide any backstory to this dish, such as whether it was actually served at the taverns during the mid to late 1700s.  However, it does provide some insight.  While residents in early Virginia favored beef, travelers passing through the area preferred pork.  (Cookbook, pg. 120.)  However, the hot temperatures during the summer made it very difficult to have fresh pork on hand for dishes like this roast loin of pork.  The pork would be salted and smoked, which became the foundation of the famous Virginia ham.  However, in the winter, hogs would be slaughtered, which would allow for fresh pork to be stored for a short period of time, such as around the New Year. 

Although I mostly stuck to the recipe, I ended up not cooking the loin as long as it called for in the instructions.  The reason is that my loin was slightly smaller than the six pound loin called for in the recipe.  This also prevented the roasted loin from getting a good color from the glaze.  Nevertheless, the end result was very good, especially when the pork is dipped in the apple brandy sauce.   

Recipe from The Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook (page 131)
Serves 6

Ingredients (for the apple brandy glaze):
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup apple brandy

Ingredients (for the apple brandy sauce):
3/4 cup apple jelly
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 small onion grated
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon bottled horseradish, drained
1/2 cup apple brandy

Ingredients (for the roast):
1 whole pork loin (6 pounds), with chine bone separated
     (not removed entirely from the bone, at room temperature)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon 

1.  Prepare the glaze.  In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, mustard, salt, pepper, cloves, allspice and apple brandy.  Mix well.

2.  Make the sauce.  In a small saucepan, combine the apple jelly, lemon peel, lemon juice, onion, ginger, horseradish and brandy.  Warm over low heat until the jelly has dissolved.  Cool and set aside. 

3.  Roast the pork.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  On an oiled rack in a large roasting pan, place the pork roast. Roast until the internal temperature registers at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit on a meat thermometer, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.  Thirty minutes before the end of the roasting time, skim and discard the fat from the roasting pan, leave the drippings.  Brush the pork with the glaze several times during the last 1/2 hour of cooking.  Transfer the roast to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.  

4.  Finish the sauce.   Skim off and discard all of the fat from the pan, leaving the drippings.  Set the pan on the top of the stove and pour in the sauce.  Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to pick up any roasting bits from the bottom of the pan.  Taste for seasoning and strain into a warmed sauce boat.  Cut the loin into thick slices and pass the sauce on the side. 


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