John’s Roast Pork with Beets and Apples

John’s Roast Pork with Beets and Apples

My second (and first November) Thankful recipe is dedicated to my husband.  I can’t even begin to express what he means to me or how thankful I am for him.  His steady support through all my mental health challenges, his patience with my short temper, and the wonderful father he is to our son is overwhelming.  He’s so supportive (even when it means a kitchen covered in flour and a sink piled high with the dishes of 10 baking experiments) and so kind.  He is easily the best person I know.  So this recipe, with all the amazing feelings I have for him, is dedicated to John.

Roast Pork with Beets and Applesmonster cake meter

minced sageLet’s start with the herbs.  I, when I possibly can, use fresh sage for this dish.  There are so few flavors that we want the best of the best!  It seems like this is a lot of sage, a lot of seasoning, but trust me – you’ll want it all.  We are basically making an herb crust over the pork.  So take the pork out of the fridge to take the chill off and wash the sage.  You’ll want to mince it until it’s fairly small.  To do this well simply place one hand on top of the knife near the end of the blade and rock back and forth, rotating through the pile.  Stop every few rotations to readjust and remake the pile, turn 90-180 degrees, and continue rotating to ensure that everything is minced evenly.  Put the sage, salt, and pepper in a bowl and stir and toss with your fingers to mix it thoroughly.

coat the loin

Next we’re back to the old standby – pat dry the pork and rub each side and the entire length with all the seasoning. Now, if it’s a whole pork loin it will actually be two separate loins. That’s okay, simply separate them and treat them the same.  Again, it feels like a lot, but the flavor is to die for.  Set it aside and allow it to rest.

While the pork is lightly brining (for more information about pork brines, check out this recipe) chop the beets and apples into large pieces.  I slice the beets and then cut each slice in half.  Slice the apples off the core and then cut thinly.  The onion should be sliced and then each slice quartered to leave longer pieces of onion.

sear the loin

Add oil to a heavy-bottom pan that can be used in the oven (I use a braiser) and heat on medium.  If you don’t have this you can use a regular frying pan and then an oven safe 9×13 pan.  When the oil is hot add the pork and sear on each side for 2-3 minutes.  You want the sear to be nice and strong so once it’s laying down don’t move it for the entire 2-3 minutes.  You want to see the sear cook depth when you look at the pork from the side.  Repeat on all sides and then sear the ends.  Remove from the oil and place on a plate to the side.

veggies and fruit

Next add the onions and the beets to the same pan and saute for 3-5 minutes, or until the beets have lost their extremely hard feeling.  You still want them to be hard, by the way, just not rigid.  Then add the apples and continue to saute for 2 minutes, or until all the apples are shiny.

pork on veggies and fruit

Add the pork back on the veggie/fruit mixture.  You’ll want it resting on top to prevent the juices from getting into the pork and braising instead of roasting it.  If you’re transferring everything to a 9×13 pan first lightly grease the pan, place the fruit/veggie mix in, and lay the pork on top.  Then put the whole thing in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.  At this point you’ll want to test the center of your pork with a meat thermometer.  It needs to read 145F (for medium rare) to 160F (for medium).  If it’s not quite there simply continue allowing it to roast until it reads your comfortable temperature.  Pork inherently has some kind of nasty diseases if it’s raw, so be sure to cook it properly!  I don’t want anyone getting sick on my watch!

cover with foil

When it’s ready remove the entire pan from the oven and cover with tinfoil, allowing it to rest for 5-10 minutes but not less than 5 minutes.  This is to help the juices stabilize so you don’t lose any of that flavor when you cut it.  Serve and enjoy!

pork and stuff

John's Roast Pork with Beets and Apples

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
  • Print

Roast pork loin with a sage herb crust with beets and apples

Ingredients

  • 1 2-3 pound pork loin
  • 5-6 large beets
  • 3 medium apples (I prefer granny smith for this recipe)
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1/3 cup fresh sage (packed)
  • 1.5 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1.5 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Remove the pork out of the fridge and preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Wash and mince the sage by placing one hand on top of the knife near the end of the blade and rocking the knife back and forth, rotating through the pile.  Stop every few rotations to readjust and remake the pile, turn 90-180 degrees, and continue rotating to ensure that everything is minced evenly.
  3. Put the sage, salt, and pepper in a bowl and stir and toss with your fingers to mix.
  4. Pat dry the pork and rub each side and the entire length with all the seasoning. Set it aside and allow it to rest.
  5. Chop the beets and apples into large pieces. Slice the beets and then cut each slice in half. Slice the apples off the core and then cut thinly. Slice the onion and then quarter the slices.
  6. Add oil to a heavy-bottom pan that is oven safe and heat on medium. (If you don’t have this you can use a regular frying pan and then an oven safe 9×13 pan.).
  7. When the oil is hot add the pork and sear on each side for 2-3 minutes.
  8. Repeat on all sides and then sear the ends.  Remove from the oil and place on a plate to the side.
  9. Add the onions and the beets to the same pan and saute for 3-5 minutes, or until the beets have lost their extremely hard feeling. (The beets should still be hard, just not rigid.).
  10. Add the apples and continue to saute for 2 minutes, or until all the apples are shiny.
  11. Add the pork back on top of the veggie/fruit mixture. Or transfer veggie/fruit mixture to a greased 9×13 pan and place the pork on top.
  12. Put the entire whole thing in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  13. Test the center of your pork with a meat thermometer.  It needs to read 145F (for medium rare) to 160F (for medium).
  14. When it’s ready remove the entire pan from the oven and cover with tinfoil, allowing it to rest for 5-10 minutes but not less than 5 minutes.
  15. Serve and enjoy!

Becky’s Rolls

Becky’s Rolls

This is it.  My first “Thankful” post.  I really wanted a way to highlight the people/recipe’s in my life that have made me who I am, made me a better chef/baker, blogger, or even gamer.  I want to take a minute and tell people how grateful I am for those people or those experiences.  And these posts are my way of doing that.  And it only seems fitting that I start with the woman who taught me how to bake.

Growing up with my parents meant I learned how to cook but I didn’t learn to bake.  My mom used box mixes (which isn’t a bad thing!) and we affectionately called her rolls “lead balls”.  So when I met my husband and his mom made rolls from scratch I was blown away and promptly begged her to teach me how.  I can trace my absolute love of baking bread, this obsession that I’ve cultivated and one of my favorite hobbies, to that moment in my life.  My mother-in-law, Becky, is a wonderful person.  She’s always so focused on helping people learn and supporting her children through thick and thin.  Her patience with me has been astronomical and I am so glad and grateful to be a part of her family.  So, for the passion she inspired in me and the person she is, this post is dedicated to her.

Becky’s Rollsdifficulty and time

Let’s chat for a second about types of dough.  Now, raise of hands, how many of you have heard of enriched bread vs. non-enriched bread?  Every buy bread from the store and it says “enriched” on it?  This simply means there’s some kind of fat source (like butter or oil) and usually other ingredients (i.e. eggs, milk, etc…).  If it’s not enriched it means there are 4 ingredients; flour, water, salt, and yeast.  So what kind are Becky’s rolls?  They are enriched, using milk and butter to add a light, delicate, and delicious flavor.

Now, when people think about bread they get a little flustered.  Why?  It’s the flour, water, and yeast.  The three essential ingredients in bread.  But I promise, there’s nothing to be afraid of!

First, let’s chat about water.  Contrary to popular belief, water temperature, while affecting time to rise, won’t make or break your bread (unless it’s boiling hot).  Cooler water will increase your rise time, taking longer than you expect.  Warmer water will decrease your rise time.  For enriched breads, where most of the flavor comes from the extra bits, a shorter rise time is fine.  For unenriched bread a longer rise time is preferred to develop flavor in the dough.

Second is yeast.  Yeast is a microorganism, a tiny little thing that grows when there’s a food source.  And it’ll grow and grow and keep on growing.  Add yeast to water at any temperature (again, as long as it’s not burning hot) and it’ll eventually come around.  Because it’s a living thing you just have to be patient and let it do it’s thing.  It’s not on a perfect schedule.  Be patient and it’ll eventually (or sooner) do exactly what you need it to do.

And then the flour.  The trickiest part of making bread is not adding too much flour.  If you add too much flour it soaks up all the water.  Then, when it comes time to bake, the water is already soaked up, leaving very little to evaporate, which makes your bread very dry.  The trick is to get the bread at that perfect stage of tacky, so it slightly sticks to your hands, the counter, etc. but not sticky enough to stay on your hands, the counter, etc.  Does that make sense?  If it sticks and pieces remain on your hands, it’s too wet.  If it doesn’t even cling it’s too dry.  Find the balance.

The recipe itself is pretty straight forward.  Add melted butter and powdered milk to the water.  Now, for this instance, if you can manage it, get your water to be “bath” hot.  Like, normal person bath hot, not scalded skin bath hot.  Since this is an enriched dough we don’t need a long first proof (called fermentation).  Whisk this together and then add the yeast, salt, and sugar.  Whisk a bit to get it all combined and then let it rest for about 5 minutes.  This rest step will get the yeast rising and active, making the fermentation step even shorter.  See, it’s not so bad!

bubbly yeast

Once your yeast mixture is bubbly and happy add about 1.5 cups of flour and whisk until it’s smooth.  After it’s completely smooth whisk for about 2 minutes.

whisked dough

Add flour, one cup at a time, until you get a kneadable dough.  It should take between 1-2 cups.  Then add more flour slowly as you need if and only if  you need it.  Remember, dough should be tacky but not sticky.  If it slightly sticks to your hands, it’s perfect.

Knead the dough for 2 minutes or until it passes the “windowpane test”.  To knead, simply press the heal of your hand into the bulk of the dough, fold the dough in half, turn it a quarter turn, and do it again.  Repeat, using one or both hands, until it feels nice and firm.  If you know what the windowpane test it, then you can check your bread this way.  Otherwise, we are just going to skip it until I make the Wheat Bread for a BotW recipe.

Put a small bit of oil in the bottom of a bowl and rotate the dough in the oil to coat all sides.  Keep the dough in the bowl and cover with a towel or cloth to ferment until double.  Now, this time will be different based on elevation of where you live, humidity, and room temperature.  In Utah, where I live, this step only takes 40 minutes.  In coastal California, it could take and hour.  The important thing is to watch the dough and only move on when it’s doubled.  If you do anything before it’s doubled the rolls will be dry and difficult to swallow.

Once it’s doubled cut the dough in half.  Gently fold over the dough to make a circle, then roll it out into a circle.  Cut the dough (I use a pizza cutter because it’s easy!) into 8 triangles.  Then just roll up the trianges into crescent shapes and place it on a greased baking sheet.  Lather, rinse, repeat for the remaining dough.  You should have 16 beautiful rolls!

Cover these with a kitchen towel and allow to proof until double, again.  While they are proofing, preheat the oven to 425F.  Once the rolls are ready just pop them in the oven for about 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown.

browned and delicious

Enjoy warm with large amounts of salted butter or however you like!  It’s rolls… you can’t really go wrong.

Becky's Rolls

  • Servings: 16
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Soft, white dinner rolls


Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 tablespoons dry active yeast
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1.5 cups hot (bath temperature) water
  • 1/8 cup plus 1.5 tablespoons powdered milk
  • 2.5-4 cups all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. Stir together the Add melted butter, powdered milk, and water. Whisk in yeast, salt, and sugar.
  2. Allow mixture to rest for 5 minutes. It should be bubbly at the end of the rest period.
  3. Add about 1.5 cups of flour and whisk until it’s smooth.  After it’s completely smooth whisk for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add flour, one cup at a time, until you get a kneadable dough.  It should take between 1-2 cups.  Then add more flour slowly if needed. The dough should be tacky but not sticky.
  5. Knead the dough for 2 minutes or until it passes the windowpane test.  To knead, simply press the heal of your hand into the bulk of the dough, fold the dough in half, turn it a quarter turn, and do it again.  Repeat, using one or both hands, until it feels nice and firm.
  6. Put a small bit of oil in the bottom of a bowl and rotate the dough in the oil to coat all sides.  Keep the dough in the bowl and cover with a towel or cloth to ferment until double.
  7. Once it’s doubled cut the dough in half.  Gently fold over the dough to make a circle, then roll it out into a circle.  Cut the dough into 8 triangles.  Roll up the trianges into crescent shapes and place it on a greased baking sheet.  Repeat until you have 16 rolls.
  8. Cover the rolls with a kitchen towel and allow to proof until double.
  9. While rolls are proofing, preheat the oven to 425F.  Once the rolls are ready pop them in the oven for about 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown.