Until recently, the meat universe was generally unknown. What happened in the kitchen on Sunday mornings between my mum, the stove and the smell of roast was a mystery in which I used to cradle me, unaware of the joy you can feel when you are the author of those scents of home.
Yes, because if home is where there is a family, home is where there is a hot soup in the winter evenings and the five o’clock tea and biscuits, home is also where the earth smells wonderfully of forest after the rain, where the smell of roast welcomes you in the kitchen, caressing your senses and soothing the worries.
I decided to start cooking pieces of meat a little bit more challenging then a veal roll or a chicken curry for this reason: I wanted to be aware of the act of creating the magic spell of being at home, to be eventually the architect of a diffuse sense of well-being, of a pleasant numbness so typical of family Sunday mornings.
I now completely understand why the fire has always been the hub of the home and the family, something to protect and keep alive: from the fireplace the healthy heat radiates everywhere, from there the life lights up the other rooms of the house and makes them vibrant, from the embers of the fire you give life to small wonders, true and hearty flavours.
Along with the fire, we have another important tradition: the one of cast iron cookware, heavy, textural. I candidly admit that the turning point in the cooking of meat for me came when I started using these traditional pots that gave me enough confidence to make those meat dishes that I used to smell with transport and eat with as much satisfaction.
Fire, iron, meat… back to the roots of our story!
As with any self-respecting pork roast the meat is well browned on the outside, with a warm and reassuring hue, while inside is juicy and soft. The apples give sweetness and curiosity, whether they are served rustic as they are, just out of the pot, caramelized and soft, or as a creamy and fruity dressing.
- a beautiful piece of boneless pork loin with some trace of fat, about 600 to 700 g
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 knob of butter
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 3 apples
- 1 white onion
- 1/ 2 cup of white wine
Tie the pork loin with a twine and rub the meat with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to flavour the pork.
Put a few tablespoons of olive oil and a knob of butter on the bottom of a cast iron skillet and let melt the butter over high heat. Add two cloves of crushed garlic.
Place the pork loin into the hot olive oil and let it brown on each side, turning the meat with two wooden spoons as soon as it gets golden brown. You are going to use wooden spoons or spatulas not to prick your beautiful piece of pork: you want the meat to be completely sealed by the heath of the olive oil on the outside and all the juices to be kept inside, to have a tasty and juicy roast! It will take about 10 minutes.
Pour in half a glass of white wine over the pork loin and let almost all the wine evaporate.
Now reduce the heat and add the peeled apples and onions, all cut into wedges.
Stir with a wooden spoon to coat the apples and the onion with the olive oil and cover the pot with a lid, then cook the meat over medium heat for about 25 up to 30 minutes, checking it occasionally.
Remove the meat from the cast iron pot, wrap it with aluminum foil and let it rest.
In the meantime, turn up the heat under the pan with the apples and cook for 5 minutes over high heat to reduce the sauce: you can serve the meat, cut into thin slices, with the apples and the onions just as they are out of the pot, caramelized and soft, or you can purée them to dress the meat with a creamy and sweet gravy.