Orange-Lemon Roast Pork Loin with Olives, Oranges, and Zest Recipe
Personally, I find that pork has a tendency to be rather bland. It is a dull white meat, lacking the inherent sturdy flavor-fullness of beef, the strong vibrancy of lamb, or the delicacy and tenderness of chicken. But in this recipe, the combination of an orange-lemon marinade; the sweet, refreshing taste of rosemary; a savory pinch of garlic; a dash of intense honey; herbs like rosemary and thyme all come together to create a roast in which all these flavors stand out. The end result is incredibly flavorful, with the pork seeped with the flavor of fruit and being wonderfully tender. Although it takes a while to marinate it, the end result is thoroughly splendid and well worth the wait.
I adapted this recipe from Recipes from a Greek Island by Susie Jacobs, which looks like an admirable recipe book that certainly has some quite beautiful photos.
- 2 lb pork, in six pork chops
- 7 cloves garlic
- 2 (mandatory) + 1 (optional) oranges, (for both zest and fruit for mandatory oranges)
- 2 lemons
- 5 sprigs rosemary
- 2 teaspoons thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons honey
- 1/3 cup brandy
- 3 star anise
- 6 oz olives, (black, drained from a brine solution)
- The day before roasting, prepare the marinade. Zest two oranges, and preserve the zest in a small bowl, then squeeze their juice into a medium sized bowl. Then squeeze lemon juice into the same bowl, and add in 3 peeled and minced garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon honey, 3 sprigs of rosemary, 1 teaspoon thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Once combined, add in the pork pieces, submerging them in the liquid and then covering with plastic. Refrigerate, and turn the pork several times during this period.
- In a small bowl, place drained olives then add in 3 star anise, 1/3 cup brandy, and 1 peeled but un-chopped clove of garlic. Refrigerate it for a day as well.
- When preparing the roast itself, remove pork from the marinade, and conserve the marinade, do not throw it away. The pork should be somewhat dry for this process, wherein 1 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon tarragon, 2 teaspoons honey 3 peeled and minced garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 sprigs of rosemary are rubbed into it.
- Place the pork into a roasting pan. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees, then place into the oven for 50 minutes. Every 10 minutes baste with the pan fat, and after 30 minutes, the marinade. 10 minutes before the end add the liquids from the olives, without the full garlic clove or the star anise.
- Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil, then blanche the orange zest in it for 5 minutes. Afterwards, drain, remove, and rinse.
- Remove the pork to a serving platter. Scatter the olives over it, then do the same for the orange zest. Optionally, one can decorate it with wedges of the optional orange, which makes it pretty and provides additional fruit to go with the pork.
- Optional: Skim the fat from the roasting pan, and then boil it until it is reduced by half and then pour over the pork as a sauce. I did not find this to be necessary but if you want sauce this is a possibility.