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Roasted Pork Loin with Maple-Mustard Crust

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Serves four as a main dish, with enough leftovers to make all the remaining dishes.

Leave some fat on the outside of the pork because it browns beautifully and bastes the roast. For the juciest results, let the pork sit in the brine for at least 8 hours but preferably 16 to 18 hours. You can scatter wedges of fennel and apple in the pan to absorb the wonderful drippings during cooking. They also prevent the glaze from scorching on the bottom of the pan.

The point of this dish is to serve the pork loin on a special night with ample leftovers to make zesty, weekday meals like Grilled Roast Pork Cubano SandwichesChinese Pork & Mushroom Wraps, and New Mexican Pork & Green Chile Stew.

For the Brine:
  • 8 cups cold apple cider or juice
  • 3/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • One 4-lb. boneless pork loin roast (or two 2-lb. loins), trimmed only if it has a thick layer of fat
For The Roast:
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 Tbs. whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper; more to taste
  • 1 large fennel bulb or 2 small bulbs, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Brine the pork:

Combine 2 cups of the apple cider or juice with the salt, brown sugar, garlic, and thyme in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring so the salt and sugar dissolve, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining apple cider or juice and cool to room temperature. Transfer to a large container, add the pork, cover, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 18 hours.

Roast the pork:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F. In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, mustard, thyme, and pepper. Drain the pork and pat dry with paper towels. Brush the pork all over with the mustard mixture.

In a medium bowl, toss the fennel and apple with the oil, salt, and a few generous grinds of pepper. Scatter the mixture in the bottom of a large roasting pan (large enough to hold the pork with a couple of inches of space around the perimeter). Put the pork, fat side up, on top of the fennel and apples. Roast the pork until the crust just starts to brown, about 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°F and continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the loin registers 145°F, 30 to 50 minutes more.

Let rest for 10 minutes and then thinly slice a quarter to a third of the pork. Serve, topped with the fennel, apple, and juices. Allow the remaining pork to cool to room temperature, wrap well with foil, and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with Classic Roasted Potatoes and an Arugula & Fennel Salad.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on 5.6-oz. serving; Calories (kcal): 570; Fat (g): fat g 24; Fat Calories (kcal): 210; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 8; Protein (g): protein g 62; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 25; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 1250; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 170; Fiber (g): fiber g 3;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Wonderful and juicy platter! A sure winner that will be made again because it was simple to prep: we brined it overnight and then some, which I believe made all the difference In tenderizing the pork. This made the juices an excellent partner to pour over the meat when served. The only thing we did different was to use a roaster ( the oven was being used for another part of the meal) and it still turned out delicious. Perhaps that's why it didn't crust but didn't matter. Fine Cooking has done it again; you rock!

This was easy and delicious. Mine didn't have much of a "crust", but it was flavorful and tender. The pan juices and apple/fennel combo were quite tasty. I roasted sweet potatoes and made some broccoli tossed with the juice and zest of an orange, then a nice pat of butter and s&p to finish it off - extremely satisfying.

Delicious! I didn't have time to do the long brine so I brined in simple kosher salt & water mixture for 2 hours. Followed the rest of the recipe exactly. Combined a Giada recipe and wrapped a slice of prosciutto on top (cut recipe in half) and the favors were yummy. Leftover sandwiches tasted just as good!

Delicious! I didn't have time to do the long brine so I brined in simple kosher salt & water mixture for 2 hours. Followed the rest of the recipe exactly. Combined a Giada recipe and wrapped a slice of prosciutto on top (cut recipe in half) and the favors were yummy. Leftover sandwiches tasted just as good!

This is an outstanding recipe! I made it for Easter and it has been requested already for Christmas! The crust is fantastic and the meat so moist - I brined for the full amount of time. I also doubled the glaze so I could baste it during roasting, and doubled the fennel/apple mix. I had never had fennel and it was delicious this way. A repeat recipe for special occasions. Family was impressed!

I haven't cooked this yet but am expecting good results. I have a question: Is this a single or a double boneless pork loin roast?............................................................................................................... Update: October 13, 2010: Outstanding! I separated a large tied double roast into 2 separate roasts and they were delicious.

Delicious and easy. Good for company.

The MuShu pork recipe made with the leftovers is better than any we've made from an Asian cookbook. The tortillas really reduce the labor and are not discernibly different from homemade.

This has become a regular with our family. We especially love the fennel and apple mixture which is also nicely flavoured by the maple mustard on the pork. I made it with the classic roasted potatoes (with rosemary and dijon mustard), and the spicy broccoli with gremolata. No leftovers.

Very nice recipe resulting in a flavourful and moist pork. I found that it did not crust as much as described however it was still well recieved. Fennel is near impossible to obtain where I live so I doubled the amount of apple and added celery in place of the fennel.

This was my first time brining. It was so simple to do the night before and so worth the results. I followed the pork recipe exactly but cooked it over red peppers, onions, potatoes and carrots since I didn't have the pears and fennel. I cooked at 450 for 20 minutes and 350 for 40 minutes. It was some of the most moist pork I have ever had with an incredible flavor. I highly recommend this recipe. Tonight I am trying the new mexico stew with the leftovers!

I, too, found that the roasting times were off. I set my convection oven to 425, and it took 20 minutes to brown. I then turned the oven to 375 and it took another 45 minutes to get to 140. Also, the next time I would double the amount of fennel and apple as mine burned along the edges due to the sugar in the maple syrup. But, it was a wonderful dish, the brining really made the roast moist and I would certainly make it again.

This roast was really nice. The brine made a huge difference. The roast came out tender and moist and very flavorful. I made an accompanying sauce out of a couple of tablespoons of the marinade boiled with some stock and a roux for thickening. I had a 3.5 lb. roast and after serving four for dinner, there is still plenty left for the other recipes in this series.

Absolutely outstanding, and as a previous reviewer said the real treat were the fennel and apples. I also used a Costco roast and found that it needed 20 min for the browning and a good 50 min to finish. We served it with baby roasted potatoes and a green salad. Can hardly wait to try the other recipes.

Absolutely fabulous. The flavors were subtle and delicate. Is all I can say is yummy. I served 8 people and they all raved about this dish. One person stated it was the best pork loin they had ever eaten. I also made all the other dishes in this article. They were also wonderful.

Excellent! Moist and very flavorful. My only complaint is that the cooking time is grossly underestimated. After the 15 minutes at 450 degrees it needed an hour and a half at 350 instead of the posted 30-45 minutes. Well worth the wait though.

The recipe for the bined pork was phenomenal! The meat was tender and sweet but the salt didnt raise your blood pressure! i will be using this for guests in the future! i have told all my cooking friends about this one! you wont regret making it!

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