I’m racking my brain trying to figure out what to make for Christmas dinner. You see, the typical Irish Christmas dinner is basically what is eaten over here on Thanksgiving and let’s face it, I’ve eaten my share of gobblygoo to last until the new year. So I decided to spice up “the other white meat” and give it a go with a touch of sweet.
Bet you didn’t know that pork is actually a great choice for a lean protein.
What’s more, pork tenderloin is now as lean as skinless chicken breast. That’s excellent news for those of us who eat chicken on a regular basis.
The “extra lean” pork tenderloin is joined by five other common cuts that meet label guidelines for “lean”. All of the cuts have less fat than a skinless chicken thigh: Top loin chop and roast, center loin chop, rib chop and sirloin chop.
A world of options has just opened up so remember, Loin Means Lean.
RECIPE: Serves 4-ish
1 x 2 1/2 lb. boneless pork loin
1 cup broth (chicken or veg)
To make spicy marinade, combine all above ingredients in a mixing bowl. Rub into pork loin and place loin in zip-loc bag. Marinate pork for between 4 – 24 hrs in the fridge.
Remove pork from fridge 1 hour before cooking so meat will return to room temperature. If you cook meat directly from the fridge, by the time the heat penetrates the center of the meat the outside will be over-cooked.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Fire up your grill pan on high so it’s hot–smoking hot literally.
Add a drizzle of olive oil to coat the bottom of the grill pan. Sear the loin for 3-4 minutes on all sides. This will not only make those beautiful grill marks on the loin but more importantly it’s searing in all the juices and adding flavor to the loin.
Place on a roasting tray and add the broth if desired.
Roast pork for 30 mins approx or until internal temperature of 135F.
TIP: I like to add some broth (chicken or veg) to my roasting pan during cooking as this helps keep the meat moist. This is even more important with very lean meats like Chicken, Turkey and Pork where there is minimal fat content.
Let meat rest, loosely covered in foil for additional 10 mins. This enables the meat to relax and re-distribute the juices throughout the meat. In other words, the juices won’t run out all over your cutting board when carving.
Of course I couldn’t leave out all of my Irish-ness this holiday season. Parsnips are a pretty good bet any time of year back home and my guess is that a lot of you over here have never had them before. (Do they sell parsnips in Canada, I wonder?) If so, you’re in for a treat–they’re brilliant!
3 parsnips – cut into wedges
1/2 tsp. agave
1/4 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
In medium mixing bowl, toss all ingredients together and lay on foiled roasting tray. When the Loin is about 20 minutes into cooking, pop these in the oven on middle shelf for 20 mins. approx or until golden.
I was thinking this Roast is a great idea for a small buffet or smack dab in the middle of the table, perhaps surrounded by the parsnips. I have it here as my dinner with some sauteed asparagus. The business!
For more healthy recipes and cooking tips visit thehealthyirishman.com