Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cheap and Cheerful Cooking: Barefoot Contessa's Roast Pork Loin with Fennel

There is nothing fancy in this dish, but there is tons of flavor. Pair with two simple sides and a no fuss dessert and you've got holiday dinner.

2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, plus 1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 (3-pound) boneless pork loin, trimmed and tied
3 small fennel bulbs, tops removed
8 carrots, peeled, and thickly sliced diagonally
10 small potatoes (red or white-skinned), cut in quarters
2 yellow onions, thickly sliced
4 tablespoons good olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

With a mortar and pestle, or in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, grind together the garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and thyme leaves. Add the mustard. Spread the mixture over the loin of pork and allow it to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the fennel bulbs in thick wedges, cutting through the core. Toss the fennel, carrots, potatoes, and onions in a bowl with the olive oil, melted butter, salt, and pepper to taste. Place the vegetables in a large roasting pan and cook for 30 minutes. Add the pork loin to the pan and continue to cook for another 30 to 50 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the middle of the pork reads exactly 138 degrees. Remove the meat from the pan and return the vegetables to the oven to keep cooking. Cover the meat with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Remove the strings from the meat and slice it thickly. Arrange the meat and vegetables on a platter. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve warm.

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