Pork Roast with Root Vegetables

A pork loin studded with garlic and roasted on a bed of potatoes, carrots, and beets is about as good as it gets. And about as easy as it gets if you keep a couple of rules in mind: 1) do not over cook the pork and 2) do not under cook the vegetables. That sounds easy but is a bit trickier than you might think. Today’s lean pork cooks quickly and should not be done past medium (yes, that is perfectly safe). Vegetables, especially beets can take a surprisingly long time to get tender at the lower cooking temperatures now recommended for cooking pork. The trick is to pull the pork at a lower temperature than you want to serve it, crank up the heat to finish the vegetables, then pop the meat back into the oven for a few minutes to warm through. Note that this recipe calls for a doubled loin. If you use a single loin put the vegetables in with the meat at the outset.

Ingredients

  • 1 doubled pork loin, i.e. two identical pieces of loin tied together
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic cut into thick slivers
  • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ pound each small whole potatoes, small beets, and carrots

Method

Sprinkle the lean sides of the pork loin with sage and tie the pieces together with butcher’s twine to form a round roast. (You can probably get your local supermarket meat department to tie the roast but it really isn’t very difficult.) With a small knife cut deep slits in the meat every inch or so and stuff in a sliver of garlic. Season the roast with salt and pepper.

Turn the oven on to 300°. Put the olive oil into a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and brown the meat, fatty sides first, until well browned on all sides, about 3 minutes per side. With the meat fattiest side up put the skillet into the oven.

Boil the beets for about 30 minutes, drain, put into cold water for a minute, and then rub the skins off with your fingers. Wash and eye the potatoes. Scrape or peel the carrots and cut into pieces about the same size as the other vegetables. Arrange the vegetables in the skillet around the pork after the meat has been in the oven about 30 minutes.

When the meat has reached an internal temperature of 135° remove it to a plate and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Turn the oven up to 375°. Roll the vegetables in the fat in the skillet and return to the oven until tender, 15 or 20 minutes. Put the pork back on top of the vegetables, pouring on any juices that have accumulated on the plate. Turn the over off and let the pork warm to at least 145° but no more than 150°. Remove the meat to platter, surround with the vegetables, and serve immediately.

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