Braised Pork and Potatoes

Realizing that I recently did a Herbed Pork Loin, I originally intended to slice this loin into thick chops and then grill them.  Faced with a blustering windstorm yesterday, I reevaluated the wisdom of tying myself to the porch rail with a safety line and playing with fire.

Really, I enjoy sharing yummy food, and other wacky stuff about my merry-go-round life.  Being blown halfway across Texas would not be conducive, I think.

So I decided to cook inside!  😛

Braising is one of the most wonderful ideas I’ve run across lately, and since it works so well with beef, I figured pork would work equally well.  And how can it possibly be bad to cook with beer?

Begin by browning the loin in a heavy pan, preferably one that can go right into the oven.  I lurves my Dutch Oven!

A little salt, pepper, and olive oil here.

I like to turn it onto the side so that gets browned also.  I prop it up with tongs so I don’t have to hold it!

Slice some onion.  I like the purple.

When the meat is a lovley golden brown, disperse the onion over and around it, and pour a bottle of beer on top.

Welcoming back an old friend is always fun, don’t you think!  😛

Cover, and bake at 250 – 300F.  About an hour before you want to serve, throw in some small new potatoes.  Make sure the potatoes are in the liquid, and continue baking until the potatoes are tender, and the meat is basically just falling apart.

The Holy Grail Ale did NOT disappoint.  This made a delicious gravy for the meat.  I could have sliced the potatoes in half to absorb a little more of the juices.  Maybe I’ll do that next time.  Because there WILL be a next time!  😛

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Blasphemy for Texans

I’ve crossed the line.  I’ve finally done her in ribs in the oven.  And they were pretty awesome.

And they were tender and  juicy on the inside, and crusty on the outside…  😛   I felt like a goddess!

I read up on ribs the other day at Amazing Ribs.    Had picked up a slab of baby backs on sale.  Yay sale!

So what did I learn???   Hmmmmmm????

A LOT.  😀

After rubbing the meaty side only of the ribs with olive oil, I made a crust of dried thyme and New Mexico chili powder, and coated the rack liberally.  Only on the meaty side.

Then, not having the suggested broiler rack, but having been given a heads up by The Queen on some kitchen innovation, I balanced a cookie cooling rack on top of a deep baking pan.  I’d have used a roaster if I had one!

They suggest that you keep an inch of water in the pan below the ribs, so the baking sheet barely cut it!  🙂

After broiling with the bony side up for about 8-10 minutes with the oven door open a bit, I pulled out the entire thing and flipped it over.  Turned the oven down to 225F and put it back in, meaty side up.

Then I slathered it in BBQ sauce.  I realize this is heresy to some, but we are a saucy bunch.  BBQ isn’t fun if you don’t get to suck your fingers!  😛

The result was some delicious ribs, done in the great indoors, looking and tasting like grilled ribs, while I went to yoga!  🙂

And didn’t have to clean the grill.

Hard to ask for more than that on a busy day.

Herb Crusted Pork Loin

A couple of weeks ago, I saw the Pioneer Woman doing a herbed pork tenderloin.  Fortuitously, the next week at the market, they had pork loin on sale!  Obviously, the stars were in alignment for me on that day.

I’m also happy when I get to make something for dinner that’s a little upscale, without using every pan in the kitchen!  😛

The trick to this is really getting the loin to cook without sitting in the juice at the bottom of the pan and getting soggy.  It’s really hard to call it a crust if it slumps off into the pan the minute you try to serve it!

I don’t have a roasting rack, which would be good for this, so improvisation was in order.

I sliced potatoes and onions very thinly and put them in alternating layers in the bottom of a 9×13″ pan.

The layers optimally will be about 2 inches thick.

Drizzle oilve oil, salt and pepper over your potaot foundation, cover, and bake at 350F for about 30 minutes, until the potatoes are just beginning to get tender.

While the potatoes are baking a bit, deal with the loin.  😛

Rub the loin with olive oil.  For this, i eschewed my favorite roasted garlic infused oil, and just used a good grade of Sicilian olive oil.

Rub the loin generously with the oil, and begin to pat the herb mixture onto the meat.

The herbs should stick in a nice thick layer.  I used Herbs de Provence, because I particularly like the mix of rosemary, thyme, basil, savory, and oregano.  It also looks pretty.

If you notice some bare patches, just get a small handfull, and press it onto the meat.  Then lay the loin on top of the potato and onion foundation.

Do not cover, as you don’t want to steam it, you want the herb layer to form into a crisp crust.  Bake at 400F for about 35 – 40 minutes.

Cover and rest the whole thing for about 5 – 10 minutes.  Then slice and serve with the potatoes and onion base, which will have now absorbed a bit of the herb flavor, along with some pork drippings.  Yum!

The pork will be a little pink, and very juicy because the crust holds in the juices.  The potatoes around the edges will get a little browned, so altogether, it really makes a nice presentation.  And you only have to wash one pan after dinner!  😀