Can you believe it's October? While all my American friends and family prepare for Thanksgiving, here in the U.K., Christmas has arrived! The stores are already displaying trees, decorations, isles of bows and gift wrap. You know I absolutely adore Christmas, but I just can't ever get used to the, almost three month, head start.
Today's recipe is inspired by just that. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, I find myself missing Thanksgiving. Since moving to Europe, I have always celebrated Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July. It has become a family tradition.
Here at the Castro residence, or in any Portuguese kitchen for that matter, we don't wait for Sunday, to make a roast. In fact, for me, nothing could be simpler! Brine and marinate the day before, throw in some potatoes, slip into a hot oven and walk away. Before you know it, the house smells amazing and dinner is ready. No excuses about cooking for just one! Leftovers for work and school the next day. Hello....roasted pork sandwichs anyone? This recipe is even easier, as I used pre-sliced, pork loin steaks, and layered them with chouriço and sliced mozzarella. This is also a great brine for turkey, chicken and lamb. You could also simply roast an unstuffed pork loin and omit the cheese and choriço altogether. Either way it is phenomenal!
Can you say OMG!!!! This recipe is dedicated to my pregnant cousin, Amanda, who so wanted this recipe. Enjoy sweetie!! XOXO
Roasted Pork Loin with Mozzarella and Chouriço
For the marinade
Minimum 6 hours or up to overnight (10 hours)
8 Pork loin steaks, boneless
1 liter cold water
70 g. Salt, course sea salt (about 4 tablespoons)
3 Garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp. Pimentón (sweet paprika)
2 Rosemary, fresh sprigs
2 Thyme sprigs
1 tsp. Oregano dried
1 tbsp. Pepper, whole corns
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
4 Bay leaves
125 ml. Portuguse Vinho verde, or other dry white wine
Mix all brine ingredients in a large container with a lid.
Place pork loin in brine mixture and refrigerate for 8 to 10 hours.
This will be the most tender pork you've ever had :)
For the Roast
8 Pork loin steaks, boneless
14 Chouriço slices
7 Mozzarella cheese slices
8 Maris Piper or Russet Potatoes, peeled, halved length wise and parboiled
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
1 tbsp. Tomato paste concentrate
125 ml. Portuguese Vinho verde or other dry white wine (top tip,Vinho do Porto will elevate this and add a nice sweetness)
1 tbsp. Pimentón (sweet paprika)
1 Crushed red pepper flakes (to taste, optional)
1 tbsp. Garlic granules/powder (not garlic salt)
1 Bay leaf
Salt and pepper
A few sprigs of thyme
Kitchen twine or waxed dental floss :) to tie it together
1. Preheat oven to 165°c (325° f )
2. Lay twine on work surface.
3. Remove pork from brine/marinade
4. Pat dry using kitchen paper towels
5. Place one slice of cheese and two slices of choriço, between each slice of pork pork loin steak. Lay horizontally, as above and secure with twine.
6. Place in shallow oven proof dish.
7. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to the boil, once boiling, add potatoes and parboil for 5 minutes. Drain and arrange potato halves around pork.
8. Drizzle a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil over the pork and potatoes. Sprinkle, pork and potatoes, liberally with salt, pepper, paprika, oregano, garlic powder and red pepper flakes (if using). Top with thyme sprigs and throw in the bay leaf.
9. In a cup, add white wine and tomato paste. Stir to incorporate. Pour into baking dish.
10. Cover with aluminium foil and place in centre of preheated oven. Roast covered for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove foil and roast uncovered for an additional 40 minutes, until the pork is no longer pink in the centre and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the centre reads, 63°c ( 145°F). Roast at additional 15 minute intervals, until this temperature is reached. Potatoes should be beautifully browned. I can't stress enogh to invest in a good thermometer as oven times and temperatures can vary greatly. Serve with a side vegetables, rice or a salad. Yes, potatoes and rice....two carbs! Portuguese style :) Drizzle pan juices all over. Enjoy XOXO