Knock me naked, this astounding company-worthy Cider-Sage Pork Loin with Potatoes and Apples dinner screams Autumn, where apple cider in a brine for pork loin imparts nuance and sweetness. Here, the cider does double duty, also starring in a flavorful pan sauce that gets drizzled on the finished dish. It is sooo good, you may want to double the amount…
Several reviewers complained that the apple wedges got too mushy. Well yes, they did, but in a positive way. Once cooked into submission, they enveloped the other ingredients with an amazing blanket of tart sweetness, if you will. After all, Granny Smith’s are baking apples.
We had a small pork loin on hand that weighed just over half the size the recipe called for, but because we wanted all of that luscious sauce and veggies, we didn’t reduce the amount of the other ingredients. In fact, I added an additional red onion. And I included the sage stems with smaller leaves into the pan of roasting potatoes, apples and onions to impart even more sagey goodness—an herb that we just adore, especially in cool weather meals.
Because our pork loin was much smaller, it reached temperature in only 40 minutes. If at all possible, use a digital probe (such as a Thermoprobe ChefAlarm) that’s stays in the meat while it roasts. This way an alarm goes off exactly when it reaches 145° and alleviates any guesswork.
After it rests, and you slice it down, make sure to add any meat juices from the cutting board into that scrumptious sauce.
Cider-Sage Pork Loin with Potatoes and Apples
For the brine
- 4 cups apple cider
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1-3/4 oz. kosher salt (about 1/3 cup Diamond Crystal)
- 3 cloves garlic, cut in half
- 3 lb. center-cut pork loin
For the pork
- 16 leaves fresh sage, 4 torn into large pieces
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 large Granny Smith apples (about 3-3/4 lb.), peeled and cut into 2-inch wedges
- 1-1/2 lb. small creamer potatoes, such as Yukon Gold, halved
- 1 large red onion (about 1 lb.), cut into 1/2-inch wedges (I added 2 onions)
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 cups apple cider
- BRINE: Put 2 cups of the cider in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, and whisk in the sugar, salt, and garlic, adjusting the heat to maintain a simmer.
- Once the sugar and salt dissolve, remove the pan from the heat, add the remaining 2 cups cider, and let cool to room temperature.
- Transfer the loin to a large bowl or zip-top bag, pour in the brine, cover with plastic wrap or seal the bag, and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
- PORK: Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 425°F. Remove the pork from the brine, and transfer to a large plate lined with paper towels. Discard the brine, and pat the loin dry.
- Using kitchen twine, tie the loin in three places at even intervals. Slip the 12 whole sage leaves between the twine and meat, and season with 1 tsp. pepper.
- In a large roasting pan, toss the apples, potatoes, and onion with 1-1/2 Tbs. of the oil and 1 tsp. salt. Roast until mostly tender, about 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, set a large heavy-duty skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1-1/2 Tbs. oil, and heat until shimmering. Set the loin in the skillet fat side down. Sear, undisturbed, until the meat browns and easily releases from the pan when you lift an edge with tongs, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium, and sear the remaining sides, about 1 minute per side, or 6 minutes total. Set the skillet aside.
- Put the pork on top of the apples, potatoes, and onion in the roasting pan. Insert digital probe with alarm if you have one.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the roast registers 145°F, about 80 minutes; start checking after about 60 minutes (or sooner if preparing a smaller roast). Remove from the oven, and let rest for 15 minutes.
- While the pork is resting, make a pan sauce. Pour off and discard any fat from the skillet, and set the pan over medium-high heat.
- Add the butter, flour, and torn sage leaves. Cook, stirring to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan, until the flour is lightly browned, about 1-1/2 minutes.
- Add the cider, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Remove the twine from the roast, and thinly slice the pork. Serve with the apples, potatoes, onion, and a generous drizzle of the sauce.
Recipe adapted from Tony Rosenfeld from Fine Cooking