The weather in New York City has been glorious this past week (except for that whole freakish Tornado thing). I’ve talked about how much I love this season, when it starts getting chilly and people buy new school supplies — I love the promise of an empty notebook! Fall is also the season when Mr. Kitchen and I truly fell in love, so this season has all sorts of super happy memories for me. One of our best dates was going to some of the OpenHouse NY sites. Each year in the fall, there’s an “Open House NY” weekend, where sites that are generally not open to the public open their doors for everyone to visit. We got to visit the garden rooftops surrounding Rockefeller Center and the Mason’s lodge in the city. I love exploring the city and I was so so happy to discover that Mr. Kitchen did too.
Another reason to love fall? The produce choices available in this season just can’t be beat. So in honor of this fabulous time of year, where there are Apples! Pumpkins! Squash! All sorts of root vegetables! I thought it might be nice to focus on fall produce recipes for the next few weeks.
First up? Apples.
Most people have an apple pie recipe, but apples make such a fabulous addition to all sorts of foods. I’ve seen it added as a last step in stews, had it chopped and roasted with onions and celery with chicken, and all sorts of other mix-ups with turkey and other proteins. My newest favorite is adding to it to a pork roast. Actually, it’s more like adding a bourbon-infused apple pie to pork roast.
Pork Loin with Apple Bourbon Topping
2 lb pork loin
1 tbsp salt
pinch cayenne pepper
generous pinch thyme, pepper and rosemary
2 tbsp olive oil, another 2 tbsp for searing
1 apple (I like Granny Smith), finely chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 tbsp Bourbon (your choice, but a word to the wise — if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it.)
A roasting pan
Preheat the oven to 325°
Mix together dry rub ingredients (salt, cayenne, pepper, etc.) Rub down the pork loin with about 2 tbsp olive oil and then rub on dry ingredients. Let stand 10 minutes. In a pan large enough to fit the roast, heat the remaining olive oil. Sear the roast on all sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. (For a good tutorial on searing, see here)
Once the meat is seared, place it in the roasting pan. I like to use roasting pans that have an elevated roasting rack. I also add water to the base of the pan, as an extra insurance that the meat will remain tender. Cook the roast in the oven, uncovered, for about a half an hour. (You’ll be adding the topping to the roast and will be returning it to the oven.)
To make the topping, finely chop the apple and add the lemon juice. Add vanilla, brown sugar, nutmeg and bourbon. Stir together well.
After the roast’s initial 30 minute cooking period, remove from oven and pile the apple topping on top of the roast. Return to oven (make sure there’s still water in the base of the pan!) and cook until the center of the roast reaches 160° . Generally, this takes about 40 minutes per pound, but I’ve found that using this topping makes the roast cook a bit slower. We’re also cooking this at a slightly lower temperature, to let the apple flavoring soak into the meat. If you’re shorter on time, a good guideline is 350° and 30 minutes per pound. Let roast stand for 10 minutes before carving (it allows the meat to firm up to make slicing easier).