It's not often that I feel restless. I'm usually a very peaceful person, happy to go with the flow, as they say.
Maybe it's that spring is coming. Perhaps it's because winter has lasted a bit too long. Maybe it's because my new volunteer job doesn't start until next week and I have time on my hands. Whatever the reason, I was looking for something new.
Something new to do with my pork roast. I had scored a beautiful, local, organic one from El Cerrito Natural, a really nice little organic grocery store not far from my house, and I wanted to jazz it up, to make it into something deliciously different.
So, I went to the interwebs and did some homework, but nothing seemed really appealing. There are at least twelve pages of recipes on epicurious.com having to do with pork roasts (and about ten recipes per page) but none of them really got my juices flowing. If you can browse through 120 recipes and never find a single one that appeals, you know you are just being silly. So, I decided to invent my own.
That's my pork roast that you can see peeking out here and there, marinated in a mixture of garlic, balsamic vinegar, citrus juices, fresh ginger and thyme, and buried under a boatload of purple cabbage, onion and cauliflorets. All stuff I had in the fridge or outside in the herb pot. A lively mishmash of flavors and colors.
It brought My Beloved to his knees. He kept shaking his head bite after bite and murmuring about how good it was. The roast was juicy and still lightly pink inside, with a tangy outer layer in which the ginger and garlic asserted themselves over the citrus juices, with an aftertaste of thyme bringing up the rear of the parade. Witnessing his pleasure dispelled my restlessness, at least until next week, when I have a job to do and places to go.
Citrus and Ginger Pork Roast with Winter Vegetables
1 pork loin roast, about two pounds
zest and juice of one large orange
zest and juice of one Meyer lemon
1/2" knob of fresh ginger, peeled and pressed in a garlic press, or grated
2 large cloves garlic, pressed
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs fresh thyme leaves
Combine all ingredients except the roast in a blender and whirl for about 30 seconds. Pour marinade over the pork roast and marinate for an hour at room temperature or covered in the fridge for four hours or overnight. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
1/2 head purple cabbage, cored and sliced
1 large onion, sliced
About 1 cup of cauliflower pieces, bite-sized
Mix the veggies together and sprinkle them around the roast in a large roasting pan. Pour the rest of the marinade over the veggies and toss them lightly to distribute*. Slide into the oven and cook until the roast reaches temperature (there is controversy about how cooked is cooked enough with pork - My Beloved and I like it to still be pale pink on the interior, not completely white, so we usually cook it to about 160-170 degrees), about 35-45 minutes, depending on the size and the initial temperature of the meat.
Remove the meat and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving on top of the veggies.
*If I had an improvement to suggest, it would be to use a roasting pan large enough to allow room for the roast and a shallower layer of veggies. Because I had so many veggies in the pan, the roast didn't brown. A little additional marinade wouldn't hurt, either.