Hi, so I turn 23 today! I'm really not huge on having big birthday celebrations because anxiety and expectations, so Matt and I are just going to celebrate with a day in the park of binge drinking champagne and shucking oysters and binge drinking more champagne (maybe with a fancy mignonette!).
I haven't put a lot of time into what I want my next year on this lil blue planet to look like. Maybe that means I'm happy with how things are? I like my job, I like running this blog, I'm grateful to have a home I'm comfortable in, I love my dude, my puppy is pretty dope, I'm stoked my family is all just a car ride away. Is not having lofty goals or expectations considered "settling"? I don't really think so. I'm just content - and extremely grateful, for probably the first time in my life. Heh, ok this is getting real sappy, sorry sorrrrrry!
Anyway, one thing that typically happens around my birthday is my mom will always put together a big birthday meal for the family to enjoy together. Usually she'll send out a text (she's hip) asking what I want for family dinner, something like "Hey U... do u kno what you want 4 bday dinner? love u!". This year there wasn't a text and instead she kind of low key surprised me with a birthday dinner earlier in the week. Really caught me off guard. The woman made a full on Italian spread and it was fucking glorious. Simmered meatballs and pasta and tons of bread and garlic and Italian broccoli (recipe coming soon for that broccoli, probably) and lots of red wine. Insane. So much food. If I had a pilates instructor like I do in my day dreams she'd be like "Get your fat meatball ass into the plank position STAT." Do you even do planks in pilates? Is that a thing?
Having some cooking from mom got me thinking, though, about other favorites from her - which is how I came across the idea of making this pork loin, a dish she serves at the winter holidays. It's succulent and really hits you over the head with a perfectly executed blend of savory and sweet elements, something that works so well with pork. I knew I had to make it and put it up on the site. So I'm sitting here thinking this was some recipe that would be scribbled on an index card and pulled out of a small organized but food-splattered cardboard box like you see in the movies. Instead, she's all like "Oh it's from the Food Network - yeah it's great!" and shot me some screen snaps of the printed out recipe on her counter. Welp.
As my mom said, "U know it's a good recipe when it's well worn and has food stains on it!!!"
She's right, y'all. It's a real good recipe.
So, not quite the romantic generations-old recipe I had expected to receive, but, hey, it works. The lady (shout out to Marcela!) who made this put "pineapple glaze" in the title, which is accurate, but to be honest I think the most standout thing about this pork loin is the sweet prunes and little onions, which cook up in the most beautiful mixture of pork fat and create this fucking phenomenal caramel-sweet-fatty thing at the bottom of the roasting pan. UGH SO GOOD.
As part of my birthday weekend *flips hair*, Matt and I spent Saturday morning preparing the pork loin and sipping on some red wine. We just started using Wine Simple, a new wine delivery service, and were liiiiike kind of floored with the wine we got from them. They source wine from small boutique wineries and use the power of #science to determine your flavor profile, and then they send you a sweet package of wine. Our two favorites were Portas da Herdade Reserva 2012, and the Contadero Vinas Centenarias Crianza 2010. Matt's the hot shot sommelier guy and he recommended we drink the fuller bodied Portuguese blend, Portas da Herdade, before the meal as it's a rich, bold wine and can stand well on it's own. The Crianza is 100% tinto de toro (a regional name for tempranillo), a great pair for the pork dish. Its bright, fruity notes blend seamlessly with the prune and pineapple elements, and its acidity cuts through and balances the richness of the pork fat. You can get your own home-delivered package of wines from Wine Simple for 20% off by using the discount code "PTVIP20" and clicking here. Thanks a ton to Wine Simple for sponsoring this post, all opinions are our own and so is all the wine <3.
In addition to the wine, we enjoyed the pork loin with goat cheese whipped sweet potatoes and our 5 Ingredient Kale Salad - we recommend you do the same!
Pork Loin with Prunes & Onions
active prep time - 15 minutes // inactive prep time - overnight // cook time 1 hour // serves 4 - 6
*You'll want to start this the night before as it's gotta brine over night!
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 T whole mixed peppercorns
- 1 T coriander seeds
- 2 cups warm water
- 6 cups cold water
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 t salt
- 1/2 t freshly ground pepper
- 2 t chopped fresh thyme
- 2 t chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 (3-5 lb) pork loin
- 2 cups prunes
- 2 cups whole, peeled miniature onions (or 1 large white onion, sliced)
- 1 T olive oil
- 1/3 cup dry red wine (we used the Porta de Herdade)
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- salt n pepper to taste
- To make the brine, whisk together the salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, and coriander seeds in a large bowl (large enough to completely submerge the pork loin). Add the warm water and whisk until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Add the cool water and the pork loin.Tightly wrap in plastic wrap and immediately place in the fridge to sit overnight, or about 12 hours.
- Once the pork loin has sat in the brine for the appropriate amount of time, discard the liquid and pat down the loin. Place the loin in a roasting pan while you prepare the rub. You can go ahead and preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the rub. Massage the rub into the pork loin, covering it evenly.
- Heat 1 T of olive oil in a large cast iron skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Brown the loin about 4 minutes on each side, allowing it to get golden brown all the way around. While it's browning, place the onions and prunes in a bed on the bottom of the roasting pan. Place the browned loin on top of the prunes and onions.
- Add the wine and pineapple juice to the skillet you browned the loin in, and bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Let simmer for three minutes, stirring occasionally to scrape any delicious fatty bits of pork off the bottom. Pour over the loin.
- Place the loin in the oven and roast for 45 minutes to one hour, basting with the juices every ten minutes. It's done when a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the loin reads 160 degrees, or the juices run clear when you slice into the center.
- Remove from the oven and cover in aluminum foil, to let rest for 20 minutes. Slice the loin into 1" thick rounds and serve along with the prunes and onions, and a few glasses of wine, of course.