Dinner fit for winter’s apparently endless tale: Mustard-glazed Pork Loin Roast

by Terry B on February 19, 2014

A pork loin roast is coated with a glaze of Dijon mustard, rosemary, shallot and garlic, allowed to marinate for several hours, then roasted until just cooked through. Recipe below.

mustard-glazed pork loin roast

We are so over winter. Two weeks ago, I reported here that we were already a foot over our annual average of three feet of snow. We have now had more than five feet of snow, and we’re not done.

caution

The only good thing I can say about the weather is that it encourages firing up the oven and roasting savory cuts of meat. The warmth fills the entire apartment, as do wonderful, meaty fragrances. Chickens, beef pot roasts and, when I’m feeling flush, legs of lamb all spring to mind when I’m ready to roast. Somehow, though, as much as I cook with pork, I seldom think of it as a roast. This weekend, I decided it was time to fix that.

So many wonderful cuts of meat come from the pig. Pork belly is enjoying a moment right now, both as the source of bacon (omigod, bacon!) and in its own right. Hams, chops, ribs, shoulders, jowls and even feet, snouts, ears and skin all yield deliciousness when properly prepared.

And therein lies the problem. With so many cuts to choose from, trying to pick the right one for the cooking technique you have in mind can be a challenge. I’d been seeing pork loin roasts in the butcher case lately. The name sounded promising, but I wanted to know more about the cut. So I checked in with the National Pork Board’s Pork Be Inspired website for more information.

According to the site, the loin roast “comes from the area of the pig between the shoulder and the beginning of the leg It is sold either bone-in or deboned.” Even though it is right next to the shoulder, a versatile cut that lends itself to roasting, braising and stewing, the loin roast has “a tendency to lose tenderness and fall apart when cooked using moist heat.” Roasting and indirect grilling are the best techniques for cooking this cut.

pork loin roast

Boneless loin roasts are typically cut into two- to four-pound pieces and include a nice thin layer of fat. The handsome one above that I bought this weekend was about two and a half pounds. Because of the name, loin roasts are sometimes confused with the smaller, longer pork tenderloin. As you can see, it is not the same thing.

As with many cuts of pork, loin roasts take well to brining, spice rubs and glazes. For this recipe, I made a glaze of Dijon mustard, shallots, rosemary, garlic, coarse kosher salt and black pepper. After coating the roast with the glaze, I wrapped it in plastic and let it rest in the fridge for several hours. This gave the meat a chance to absorb some of the flavor—and for the various flavors of the glaze to meld.

Besides being a flavorful, tender roast the day you make it, the roast leftovers make delicious sandwiches.

Mustard-glazed Pork Loin Roast
Serves 6 to 8

1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
pork loin roast, about 2-1/2 pounds

Combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl. Spread a sheet of plastic wrap large enough to completely wrap the loin roast on a counter or table. Lay the roast fat side down in the center of the plastic sheet. Using your hands, spread mustard glaze over the bottom of the roast and then turn it fat side up. Spread mustard glaze over the top, sides and ends of the roast, coating all surfaces. Wrap in plastic wrap, place on a plate (in case of any leakage of glaze) and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

About a half an hour before you’re ready to cook the roast, take it from the fridge (and remove it from the chilled plate) to let it warm up. Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Unwrap the roast and place it on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place on the center rack in the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350ºF and roast until an instant read thermometer reads 145ºF when inserted in the center of the roast, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Transfer roast to cutting board, tent with foil and let it rest about 10 minutes before carving. Slice thinly crosswise and serve.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

John@Kitchen Riffs February 19, 2014 at 10:04 am

I love roast pork! It’s a dish I make often, and sometimes use a coating that’s almost exactly the same as yours. Don’t often use mustard for the coating, though — I should do that more, as I know the flavors work so well together. And rosemary and pork is a magical combo, IMO. Yours is perfectly done — I do love pink pork!

Ronnie Ann February 19, 2014 at 7:18 pm

This is just a wonderful way to treat a pig, Terry. As John says, rosemary and pork are made for each other. And this simple glaze & roasting process leaves the pork juicy, flavorful and eager to mingle with sides. Nice!

Mimi February 19, 2014 at 9:01 pm

What perfect flavors and what a perfectly pink hue. This one is excellent.

Terry B February 19, 2014 at 10:26 pm

John, pork plays nicely with mustard. A much more subtle dish I do sometimes is Pork Medallions with Tarragon Mustard Sauce.

Thanks, Ronnie Ann! For sides with this roast, I made mashed potatoes with buttermilk and some wonderful, pencil-thin asparagus spears.

Thanks, Mimi! I’m so happy that the days of cooking pork to death are over. The meat is much juicier and more tender when cooked to just 145º.

jeri February 19, 2014 at 10:30 pm

I grew up hating pork. Trichinosis was a serious issue, so pork was always cooked to death. The pig farmers of the world took note and now we have safe and delicious pork. Here’s hoping the chicken and beef people step up as well. Thanks for another great recipe, Terry.

Dani H February 19, 2014 at 10:53 pm

Hi, Terry! A (very) belated happy new year!

This roast looks and sounds like perfection! I enjoy a little pink in my pork and I adore mustard with it.

Other than winter being a bitch for you this year (ummm…. we’re in the eighties here in Arizona already, but you can laugh it up when we’re at 120 or above this summer *smile*) I hope all is well with you and your family!

Anita February 20, 2014 at 11:18 am

I know, I’m being “that person” in the comment section of a cooking site. The one who loves a recipe – except for all of the ingredients – and wants to know if you can substitute garlic for the vanilla. So having indulged in an insufficient bit of self-deprecation: I’m not a huge mustard fan. Can I leave it out, or is there something else I could slap on? Yes, I know it would be a different recipe/taste – but I like pork loin, and would love to use the general knowledge here without the sourness that is mustard. (p.s. Horseradish, however, would be like running from an irate chihuahua into the maw of a tiger… )

Terry B February 20, 2014 at 11:49 am

Jeri, I grew up loving pork. But I think that’s because we almost always had the cheaper pork steaks instead of chops; they were much fattier, so overcame the overcooking issue. Sadly, the pork producers’ push to raise leaner pigs to make pork the healthy “other white meat” has resulted in meat that cooks up drier and less flavorful, especially if overcooked. When buying pork, I always look for as much marbling as possible.

Thanks, Dani! Hope you and your family are well too.

Anita, this is the beauty of cooking, taking a recipe and making it your own. If you don’t want to use mustard, substitute a couple/few tablespoons of olive oil. You won’t get the nice crust the mustard delivers, but the rosemary, shallots and garlic will impart plenty of flavor, and the oil should keep the garlic from burning (you may want to skip starting the roast at 450º, though, and just cook it at 350º throughout). I would also double the kosher salt, I think. I would still like to lure you over to the mustard side, though. It doesn’t always have to be a big, tangy hit. Try the Pork Medallions with Tarragon Mustard Sauce recipe I linked to above, Anita. The mustard is subtle and quite delicious in it.

Christina February 23, 2014 at 9:03 am

Oh, I love a good pork roast… I think, when done right, it’s better than any steak or lobster you could lay your hands on! And this has all my favorite flavors, too. The next pork loin I cook will definitely get this treatment. Thanks for sharing.

Terry B February 23, 2014 at 11:41 am

Thanks, Christina!

CavaCava February 25, 2014 at 10:45 pm

More often, we’re stuck inside our house when the weather is freaking cold out side. And this recipe will surely heat up our day. Right?

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