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 to me. I was unaware of the joy you can feel when you are the author of those scents of home.
Yes, because if the home is where there is a family, home is also where there is a hot soup in the winter evenings and the five o’clock tea and biscuits, home is also where the soil smells wonderfully after the rain, where the aroma of roast pork welcomes you in the kitchen, caressing your senses and soothing the worries.
I decided to start cooking meat recipes that could be a bit more challenging than a veal involtino, or chicken curry, for this reason.
The thing is, I wanted to be aware of the act of creating the magic spell of being at home, to be eventually the architect of a sense of well-being, of a pleasant numbness so typical of family Sunday mornings.
Now, I 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, that of cast iron cookware (I’m loyal to Staub). I admit that the turning point in cooking meat for me was 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!
Roast pork loin with apples
If the Tuscan arista alla Fiorentina, roasted pork loin with herbs and white wine, was the traditional Sunday roast in our family, the roast pork loin with apples quickly became our favourite. Let’s face it: pork and apples is a marriage made in heaven.
First, you brown the meat in olive oil until nicely golden brown, then you add apples, onions, and white wine and, after a short cooking, your Sunday roast is ready. The apples provide sweetness and an accompaniment to the pork, whether they are served rustic as they are, just out of the pot, caramelized and soft, or as a creamy dressing.
Roast pork loin with apples
- 800 grams (1.76 lb) boneless pork loin, nicely marbled
- fine sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 knob of butter
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 apples, peeled and cut into wedges
- 1 white onion, peeled and cut into wedges
- 1/2 cup white wine
- Tie the pork loin with twine and rub the meat with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to flavour the pork.
- Pour a few tablespoons of olive oil and a knob of butter on the bottom of a cast-iron pot and melt the butter over high heat. Add two cloves of crushed garlic.
- Place the pork loin into the hot olive oil and brown it on each side, turning the meat with two wooden spoons as soon as it gets golden brown. 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 to keep all the juices inside. This will result in a tasty and juicy roast! It will take about 10 minutes.
- Pour in half a glass of white wine over the pork loin, then add the peeled apples and onions, all cut into wedges.
- Stir with a wooden spoon to coat the apples and the onions with olive oil, cover the pot with a lid, then cook the meat over medium-low heat for about 25 minutes, checking it occasionally.
- Remove the meat from the cast iron pot, wrap it with aluminium foil and let it rest for about one hour.
- In the meantime, turn up the heat under the pot 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.
More recipes with pork from the blog archive
- Pork tenderloin medallions with apples. You can prepare the pork tenderloin medallions wrapped in lardo and cook them with apples and onions in no time. They will remain juicy, perfectly paired with the caramelised apples and onions.
- Pork sirloin with herbs. It’s amazing how a few dried herbs and a few juniper berries can turn one of the usual Sunday meat dishes into a roast worth of a medieval castle, juicy and flavourful, with a slight hint of wood and resin.
- Pork loin with lager beer and mustard. I made these slices of pork loin in no more than 10 minutes: lager beer and mustard make them tasty and unusual, giving the dish the richness of long cooking recipes that we so appreciate during winter.