Fresh take on roast pork loin
In a recent lot of food magazines, I found several recipes that used blood oranges or blood orange juice.
If you’re not familiar with blood oranges (sometimes labeled moro blood oranges), their appeal is the striking color of the flesh, and their unique flavor. Blood oranges also have few, if any seeds.
Their flesh is a brilliant red or deep orange or orange streaked with crimson. Blood orange flavor profiles are just as different, from sweet to super sweet to sweet-tart.
Since citrus and pork go together just like pork chops and applesauce, this recipe for Roast Pork Loin with Blood Orange Mostarda caught my eye because it looked so inviting, as whole pork roasts often do. But it was also the mostarda and the roasted blood oranges that made it interesting.
Once the pork loin is tied (don’t skip this, it help it stays together and keep its shape) it’s brushed with a mix of blood orange juice and seasonings, including fresh rosemary. The juice helps keep the meat moist, and the rosemary provides earthy, woodsy notes.
With the blood orange and orange quarters, they are roasted separately, to bring out and caramelize their sugars. Once roasted you can eat the roasted blood orange flesh or squeeze the juices over the pork.
In this recipe, the mostarda threw me. I never heard of it. Mostarda (mohss-TAHR-dah) is Portuguese for mustard, according to Webster’s New World Dictionary of Culinary Arts by Steven Labensky, Gaye G. Ingram and Sarah R. Labensky (Prentice Hall, $25.95). But many define mostarda as a Northern Italian dish of fruit cooked in a sweet syrup and mustard powder and seed.
Mostarda is traditionally served with boiled or roasted meats. You can think of it like a chutney.
There are lots of ways to make mostarda, but basically it’s made by soaking dried and fresh fruit in water or a sweet wine for at least several hours or ideally, by some recipes, for 24 hours. This recipe takes a short cut, using only golden raisins as the fruit and cooking them in blood orange juice and white wine.
Roast Pork Loin With Blood Orange Mostarda
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Total time: 2 hours
For the pork
1 center-cut boneless pork loin (31/2 to 4 pounds)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 blood oranges
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon ground coriander
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 red onions, quartered
For the mostarda
Juice of 4 blood oranges (about 11/2 cups)
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 sprig rosemary
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Make the pork: Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Tie the pork with kitchen twine at 1-inch intervals so it keeps its shape. Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, the zest and juice of 1 blood orange, the garlic, rosemary, coriander, 11/4 teaspoons salt and a few grinds of pepper in a small bowl. Rub all over the pork. Set a rack in a large roasting pan; put the pork on the rack and let stand at room temperature, 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, quarter the remaining 3 blood oranges (do not peel). Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet along with the red onions. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Roast the pork on the lower oven rack until golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the center registers 145 degrees F, about 1 hour 10 minutes. About halfway through, roast the oranges and onions on the upper oven rack until softened and just starting to char, 25 to 30 minutes; set aside until ready to serve. Remove the pork from the oven and let rest 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the mostarda: Combine the blood orange juice, wine, 1 cup water, the raisins, sugar, honey, mustard seeds, rosemary and 1 tablespoon mustard in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until thick and syrupy, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the rosemary sprig and stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon mustard and the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
Set aside until ready to serve. (The mostarda can be made up to 4 hours ahead; reheat before serving.)
Untie the pork and slice; transfer to a platter along with the roasted oranges and onions. Serve with the mostarda.