Remember how I mentioned on Sunday I was going to be experimenting with a Rack of Pork this week? I’m happy to report that my experiment was a complete success! Remember, Costco is running specials in honor of National Pork Month – this week (through October 30) you can save $2. 50 on a Rack of Pork. Pork Rib Roast (aka Rack of Pork) is great when cooking for a crowd – it’s a real people-pleaser with that extra 220;wow” factor. It’s also a great ‘cook once, eat twice’ solution to weekly meal planning. I know I’m looking forward to last night’s left-overs!
One thing to note – Rack of Pork is not readily available year-round. It’s a popularly stocked item during the holidays, unless you make friends with your butcher and sweet-talk them into getting one prepared for you. I’m here to tell you, it’s worth it. I was intrigued by the various ways you can prepare a Rack of Pork, and compiled several of the recipes I found that sounded good, combining them into one I know I’d like, as well as my family. And since my family (read: Princess Nagger) are picky eaters, this was definitely a challenge.
Since you have to be careful how you prepare pork to make sure it doesn’t get too dried out when you cook it, I decided to do a brine. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s basically a salt water soak that will enable the meat to absorb and retain moisture. I’ve never actually brined anything before, so I got creative. Here’s what I did:
Roast Rack of Pork with Apple-Ginger Chutney
and Apple Jack Sauce
|8-10 cups||Apple Cider|
|1/2 cup||Sea Salt or Kosher Salt|
|1/2 cup||light brown sugar|
|1||sweet onion, peeled and quartered|
|1 teaspoon||thyme (or comparable sprigs fresh thyme)|
|1 teaspoon||Summer Savory|
|1 (5-pound)||center cut rack of pork, Frenched and fat removed|
|2 tablespoons||olive oil|
|Salt and freshly ground black pepper|
|2 cups||Apple Jack|
|3 cups||chicken stock|
|2 tablespoons||cold unsalted butter|
|2 tablespoons||finely chopped fresh parsley, plus parsley sprigs for garnish (or apple slices)|
|Apple-Ginger Chutney (recipe follows)|
Bring the apple cider, salt, sugar, onion, peppercorns, mustard seeds, thyme and bay leaves to a low simmer in a large stock pot and cook until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Let cool completely. Submerge the roast completely in the brine (I added apple cider to make sure the roast was completely covered), then cover and refrigerate 12-24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Remove the pork from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Season the pork all over with salt and pepper, sprinkle each side with cinnamon (my Swedish Grandmother’s influence again – trust me, it works) and cook on both sides until golden brown.
Transfer the pork to a baking sheet (cover the bones with foil until the last 10-minutes of cooking…this will help them not burn) and finish cooking in the oven until cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 45 minutes to an hour (check it at 45-minutes, oven efficiency will vary…mine isn’t consistent. The instant-read thermometer will let you know when it’s really done!) This instant-read thermometer came it really handy (and is included in the prize pack you have a chance of winning):
Remove from the oven and let rest loosely tented with foil for 10 minutes.
While the pork is roasting, start the sauce:
Add the Apple Jack to the sauté pan that the pork was cooked in, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, and cook until almost completely reduced. Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced to a sauce consistency. Whisk in the butter, season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir in the parsley.
Cut pork into chops, top each chop with some of the Apple-Ginger Chutney, and drizzle a little of the sauce around the pork chop and over the chutney. Garnish with parsley sprig (or if you’re like me and forgot to pick up extra parsley, garnish with apple slices):
|1 tablespoon||olive oil|
|1/4||medium sweet onion, finely chopped|
|2||cloves garlic, finely chopped|
|2 teaspoons||finely chopped fresh ginger (more if you want a stronger ginger taste)|
|1 cup||fresh orange juice|
|3 tablespoons||light brown sugar|
|5||Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced|
|1 teaspoon||ground allspice|
|1/4 teaspoon||kosher salt or sea salt|
|1/4 teaspoon||freshly ground black pepper|
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for approximately 1 minute. Increase the heat to high, then add the orange juice, brown sugar, and honey and bring to a boil. Stir in the apples, allspice, and salt and pepper, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce heat and remove the lid:
Let cook until the apples are soft and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Serve with the pork.
It turned out absolutely delicious. The hubby went back for seconds, and pointed out the he wasn’t slathering it with his usual hot-sauce, a sure sign that he likes it just the way it is. Now that it’s passed the test with the Picky Guinea Pigs…ahem, I mean family members…I’ll definitely be making this again to impress dinner guests. Or just because it’s that good. There are a whole myriad of side-dishes that would work well with this, I was so focused on fine-tuning the recipe for the rack of pork that I neglected the non-spotlight side dishes. But no one seemed to mind. We were all (happily) full.
Now on to the Giveaway!
Win It– One lucky Stacy Uncorked reader will win a Costco Pork Kit (includes: $25 Costco Cash, a digital instant-read thermometer, and flash drive with helpful pork tips and information.)
Leave a comment on this post telling me about your favorite pork recipe, or favorite party or holiday dinner.
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Note: I am working with the National Pork Board, Costco and The Motherhood to promote National Pork Month. I received compensation for this post, however the opinions expressed in this post are strictly my own and not influenced by any outside sources. See my Disclosure Policy here.