Saturday, June 20, 2015

Let it rest: maple pork loin

The quest for food knowledge continues with a delicious hunk of meat!

Concept 3: Resting meat maximizes juiciness
Recipe: Maple-glazed pork roast

This concept is something we've all been told in cooking shows, but the Cooks Illustrated people figured out optimized resting times for the meat. They also show scientifically why meat should rest, which is that muscle fibers contract during cooking (driving out moisture) and need to relax (reabsorbing the moisture).

The perfect resting times for meat are at least five minutes and as many as 30 or 40 minutes, so it's really important to set some time aside for this.

The recipes from this chapter were mostly grilled meats, so I skipped those because I don't have a grill set up at the moment. Instead, I went for one in the oven and stove top - maple-glazed pork roast.

First, you tie up the roast and sear it on the stove top:

 The glaze is maple syrup (real maple syrup, not pancake syrup!) with a little cinnamon, clove, and cayenne pepper whisked in.

After searing it, you put it in the oven for roasting. I turned it a few times, swishing it around in the glaze. After it was done, I put it on a plate for resting for 20 minutes.

I sliced it and served it with a salad of CSA greens and tiny farmers market strawberries. Beer pairing was Bell's Porter.

I liked the glaze a lot, so the best parts of the meat for me were the outside parts of the meat that were roasted and coated in glaze. The pork itself was OK, and very juicy, but not super flavorful unless it had the glaze on it. But it has been a while since I had pork, and I think I probably overcooked it. (Hence the next chapter - "hot food keeps cooking.")

I've got a 5K tomorrow, so I needed some protein. Done and done!

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