Same old, same old, plain old roast pork? Not this one. It’s gussied up and stuffed with prunes and apricots and easy enough to make for a weeknight meal. I started out with a large boneless pork loin bought on sale, one that would have served at least 12 people. I cut it in thirds and wrapped each piece for the freezer.
Last night I cooked one of the roasts for just me and my husband. It weighed only about 1 1/2 pounds, but there was enough meat leftover for another two meals. That’s because there is very little fat, no bone and it didn’t shrink during cooking. That’s the good news. The bad news is that there is very little fat, no bone and it can easily dry out if you cook it too long. If you brine the roast, even for just an hour, it will guarantee that you won’t end with a piece of shoe leather.
To brine a roast of this size, measure out a quart of cold water. Put about 1/4 of it in a saucepan with 1/2 cup of salt and 1/2 cup sugar, a couple of garlic cloves, some black pepper corns and some herbs. You could use rosemary or sage, both of which work well with pork. Bring the water to a boil and continue to boil for about two to three minutes to dissolve the salt and sugar. Take the pot off the heat and add the rest of the cold water. Put the pot in the refrigerator until the water is no longer warm. Place the pork into the water, turning it around once and store the pot in the refrigerator for at least an hour. You could even do this the night before you cook it if you want.
Cut little slivers along the outside of the roast and put little pieces of garlic into the slits. Sprinkle all over with salt, pepper, and herbs de provence. Place in a small roasting pan greased with olive oil. Add one large onion, cut into quarters. Drizzle everything with more olive oil. Roast at 375 degrees for about one hour or until a thermometer registers about 135 degrees. Remove from oven. The temperature will continue to rise. Cover with foil and let rest for about 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.