A couple weeks ago I bought a 6lb pork loin and cut it into 3 sections. We usually have pork tenderloin instead but the sale was too good to pass up! The first roast I made was very dry. I used the second section for pulled pork and it was a little dry but not too bad. This time I went searching for a good recipe and found Pioneer Woman’s Pork Roast with Apples and Onions. I modified the recipe to adapt it to what I had on hand and it turned out fantastically!! I was expecting the meat to be dry but the sauce to be delicious so I was pleasantly surprised that the meat was not dry at all and the flavor was incredible. Even the hubs ate some of the apples and enjoyed them despite his issues with hot fruit! He absolutely loves onions and was raving about them the whole meal. This one is definitely going in the rotation!
While the onions do their thing chop up 2 apples. These are Pink Lady apples but you can use whatever you have.
Once your onions are nice and caramelized pull them out of the pan and set them aside. Look at all the brown goodness in there! Yum.
Add some olive oil to the pan. While it’s getting screaming hot take your roast (ours was about 2.5 lbs with the fat trimmed) and generously salt and pepper it. Brown the meat on all sides in the olive oil.
We are going to braise the meat in liquid. The recipe I looked at called for apple juice as the liquid but I’m not a big fan of apple juice and I was using a much quicker-cooking roast so I wasn’t sure it would have time to cook down properly. I mixed 5 cups of water with 1 chicken bullion cube and half a beef bullion cube (each cube is supposed to make 2 cups of broth). I heated it in the microwave and then added 2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar for sweetness. I intentionally made a weak broth because the liquid will be reduced later on to use as a sauce and most of the water will evaporate.
Throw the apples and onions in the pot with one bay leaf and your braising liquid. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover with the lid.
Cook the pork loin for 1 to 1.5 hours (use a meat thermometer to make sure it is at a safe temperature). I stirred it around occasionally to make sure the apples were dunked in the brothy goodness.
Remove the meat to a cutting board and tent with foil to rest. Get out a pretty platter and spoon the apples and onions onto it, leaving room in the middle for the pork. Crank the burner up and boil the braising liquid until it reduces down to about 1.5-2 cups of liquid. It wasn’t thick enough for me at this point so I made a slurry with about a teaspoon of corn starch and a couple teaspoons of cold water stirred together and whisked it into the boiling liquid to thicken it up a bit. You could also make a roux with flour and butter and whisk that in. I also added a small dash of Worcestershire sauce while it was reducing for that “meaty” flavor. If I had thought of it I would have added that at the beginning!
You can see how much it has reduced in the above photo. It took a good 5-10 minutes to get to this point. Now you can turn off the burner and slice up the roast. Arrange the meat on your platter and spoon the sauce over the top. Serve with a big spoon so everyone can get extra sauce for their plate!
The verdict is that this was awesome! I will be making it again! We want to try using pork shoulder or pork butt next time because pork loin is a very lean meat and even though it was as tender as it could possibly be, it is still on the dryer side. For pork butt the cooking time would be increased to 2.5 to 3.5 hours. The sauce would likely need to be skimmed before reducing as well because that cut has a lot more fat.
Ingredients (serves 2 with a little left over):
- 2-2.5lb pork loin
- large Vidalia onion, sliced
- 2 firm apples, sliced in wedges
- 5 cups of liquid – a combination of chicken and beef broth, one or the other, or a chicken bullion cube and half a beef bullion cube with 5 c of water
- 2T dark brown sugar
- 1 Bay Leaf
- Salt and Pepper to season the meat
- dash of Worcestershire sauce
- 2t butter and 1T Olive Oil for caramelizing onions
- 2-3T Olive Oil for searing pork
- Slurry of 1t corn starch mixed with 2t cold water (water must be cold!)
I encourage you to try this one out! I can’t wait to make it again!