When I was growing up in the small southern Oregon town of Roseburg, our family ate the classic turkey dinner for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Over the years I’ve roasted my share of the iconic birds, but sometimes I want something that generates the same celebratory feast vibe, works for a smaller gathering but can also feed a crowd, compliments the same kinds of side dishes, and doesn’t take all day to cook. That’s when I get a pork loin.
The whole loin from a good-sized pig can weigh more than 30 pounds, but most boneless loin roasts run 3-4 pounds, enough for 6-8 people. A good butcher can cut a smaller roast, but don’t skimp since the leftovers, like turkey, make great sandwiches. If you can find one with a nice fat cap, get it. It’s good to have the rendered fat for making gravy. And I think gravy, with a couple of starchysides to soak it up, is the most important part of a meat-centric feast.
Pork loins also roast nicely, and I’m in the Barbara Kafka camp of high temperature roasting, which is basically everything at 500F until done. Rub the meat with olive oil, give it a generous dusting of salt and pepper, and pop it in a very hot oven. Pull it out when the internal temperature hits 145F, about 40-50 minutes later, move the roast to a platter, and cover it with foil. Drain off the rendered fat, then add some water to the pan and scrape up any tasty bits to make jus for the gravy.
Put the fat from the roast in a skillet and add olive oil if there’s less than a couple of tablespoons (if there’s more just make more gravy or save it for something else). Stir in roughly the same amount of flour as fat and cook for a few minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste. Add the porky water from the roasting pan, mirin, sake, miso, shio koji, and Okinawan brown sugar. Let everything cook together until it thickens up, about 10 minutes, taste and add salt if needed.
Join us TOMORROW, Wednesday November 17th, for an event like no other: run with the Wolfpack and warm up in our famous parking lot! That’s right, local fitness group Wy’east Wolfpack will take runners of all abilities on a short(ish) loop that starts and ends at Wellspent Market.
Meanwhile, Wellspent founder Jim Dixon will have a big pot of soup going to refuel you, and we’ll be pouring a host of thirst quenching non-alcoholic beverages from Athletic Brewing and Wildterton along with special guests True Tea. And yes, we’ll have the bonfires raging to keep you warm, and this event is open to all, even if you choose not to join the run.
Local cast iron kings Finex Cookware are partnering with some of our favorite up-and-coming chefs for a casual cookout and product demo. Luna Contreras (@Chelopdx), Deepak Kaul (@bhunarestaurant), Marlon Alfonso (@brazakaya) and Han Hwang (@kimjonggrillin) will make the snacks and demystify cast iron cooking, and Wellspent Market will have tasty beverages to wash it all down with.
Rain or shine, we’ll be in the lot eatin’ and drinkin’ around the fire!