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Tuscan Roast Pork with Yellow Potatoes, Fennel, and Parsnips

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Serves 6

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 116

For this slow roast, the potatoes and vegetables are precooked so they come out perfectly tender when the pork loin is done. The rosemary, coriander, fennel seeds, and other Tuscan flavors rubbed over the pork also season the juice it releases, which creates a delicious jus for serving.

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. sambuca
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp. dried fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 3-lb. boneless pork loin (have your butcher leave 1/8 inch fat on the top)
  • 1-1/2 lb. small yellow potatoes (about 10), halved
  • 3 medium parsnips, peeled, cut lengthwise into quarters, and cored
  • 2 medium sweet onions, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 large fennel bulb, stalks trimmed, bulb quartered, cored, and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices (fronds reserved)
  • 1-1/2 cups lower-salt chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine

In a small bowl, combine 1 Tbs. each of the oil and sambuca with the garlic, rosemary, fennel seeds, coriander, 1-1/2 Tbs. salt, and 3/4 tsp. pepper to make a paste; set aside.

Pat the roast dry with paper towels. Rub the paste over the entire roast. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F.

Arrange the potatoes, parsnips, onions, and fennel in a 13x17-inch (or similar) roasting pan, season with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper, and drizzle with the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. Roast, turning occasionally, until a fork inserted in the center of each type of vegetable meets little resistance, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove the roast from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F. Put the roast, fat side up, on top of the vegetables. Add the chicken broth and wine, and roast, basting the meat and vegetables occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the roast registers 135°F to 140°F, about 2 hours.

Transfer the roast to a serving platter or carving board, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a large sheet of foil; wrap and keep warm in the turned-off oven.

Pour the juice from the roasting pan into a fat separator and let sit until the fat rises to the top. Pour the clear juice into a 1-quart saucepan, leaving the fat behind, and put over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 Tbs. sambuca and simmer until the jus is slightly reduced, 3 to 5 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange the pork on a platter with the vegetables, garnish with the fennel fronds, and serve with the jus on the side.

Serving Suggestions

Orange-Soaked Bundt Cake makes a wonderful dessert.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 600; Fat (g): fat g 23; Fat Calories (kcal): 200; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 5; Protein (g): protein g 49; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 13; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 44; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 1070; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 110; Fiber (g): fiber g 7;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I've made this three times. Even substituted Galliano for the sambuca when we ran out. Definitely don't add more salt than the recipe calls for. Did that the 2nd time around and it was way too salty. But we are a fan of this recipe. Definitely marinate the night before.

I made this yesterday and was looking forward to it since it has many favorite flavors: fennel, pork, parsnips rosemary, garlic -yum. It was good, and certainly easy to make. However, we found it to be excessively salty, and we are not afraid of salt. Perhaps it was because I did not have time for the full overnight marination and the salt didn't "soak in"? Also, the roast was done to 145 in about 1-1/2 hours. I will try again, but with about half as much salt.

Very good recipe. Easy to cook resulting in tender pork with lots of flavour. The layering of the aniseed/liquorice flavours work well.

Liked this recipe, but didn't LOVE it. Not as flavorful as expected, as neither the roast nor the veg got much color. Putting roast into oven with so much liquid seemed to steam rather than roast. Perhaps searing @ higher temp (450?) before adding broth & wine would achieve better results.

Let me start by saying I am not a big fan of fennel. Or licorice. This dish is bathing in it. Fennel seeds, roasted fennel, sambuca. That said, I LOVED IT. Everything works! I started by roasting the vegetables on a baking sheet. I realized that I may have trouble adding all the liquid to that baking sheet, so after the vegetables were finished with the initial roasting phase, I transferred to a slightly smaller roasting pan (which also nicely accomodated the veg since they had reduced in size slightly in the roasting process.) I believe my roast reached the desired temperature at about 1:40 - 1:45. (this could likely be because the oven was still close to 400 degrees when I introduced the roast / veg combo to it.) The meat was succulent and tender. I didn't get a lot of fat in the juices that collected (possibly because the meat didn't "meet" the bottom of the pan since it sat on top of the vegetables?) The jus was delicious! The meat had a "pastrami" like feel to it with all the herb paste on it. Absolutely lovely. I may be a fennel convert!

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