Thursday, February 3, 2011

RECIPE: Vanilla Black Pepper Pork Loin

The other week, Susie at Susie's Homemade shared a recipe she made from Aarti's Party on the Food Network.  I thought it sounded really interesting and since I had everything in the pantry and freezer, decided to make it for supper.  My pork loin was 4-3/4 lbs, so I cut it in half to use in this recipe and the other half we ate Apricot Dijon Pork Chops.  Like Susie, I didn't have Vanilla Beans.  She used vanilla extract, so I did too!  My husband doesn't like cooked apples so I decided not to do the apple and celeriac part of the original recipe. I also didn't have some of the required baking ingredients, so I just used what I had.  Isn't that what you're supposed to do when involved in a pantry challenge?

I've never done a brine on anything before, so this was new to me.  

Have you ever brined anything?

Here's how I did it:

Vanilla Black Pepper Pork Loin (adapted from Aarti's Party)
Make the brine:
9 cups water
2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
2 whole cinnamon sticks
5 whole cloves
1/4 cup whole peppercorns
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup salt

Bring water and seasonings to a boil.

Make sure sugar and salt dissolve.  Turn off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.  Mine took about 2 hours to cool completely.

When it's cool, pour it over the loin and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours. 

Cook the pork:
2-1/2 lbs boneless pork loin
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup applesauce
2 cups water

Remove pork from brine and pat dry with paper towels.  Heat oil in oven proof Dutch oven over medium heat.  Sear and brown all sides of the pork.

Pour applesauce and water into a blender and blend until smooth and frothy.  Pour the apple mixture over the pork and bake in the oven at 325 degrees F for about 45 minutes.

(Pork should read 145 degrees F on thermometer.)

This had a very interesting flavor.  In a good way.  My "picky eater" liked it and even said he'd eat it again.  It was sort of cinnamon-y more than vanilla-y.  It was very good and the texture of the pork was soft and delicious.  The kids loved it and ate every single bite.

I'll definitely brine things in the future since it made the pork more tender.

Have you tried anything new lately?  Visit Alicia's Homemaking to see what new things others are trying.



Susie said...

I am glad that I inspired you to brine. It really does do a lot for meat:-)

Sarah @ Loved Like the Church said...

YUM! I have a pork loin sitting in my freezer that I've been wanting to use, but don't want to do the same ol' thing. But Vanilla Black Pepper Pork Loin?! Yes please!

Thanks for linking up to TNAT!

Alicia @ Alicia's Homemaking said...

Oh, very interesting. I certainly would never have come up with that combo...and I've also never done a brine! Thanks for sharing, Candi. :D


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