The nights are cool and the days are warming. Maple trees start to drip their liquid gold into buckets from Maple farms across the NorthEast. Did you know that it can take up to 40 gallons of the sap to produce just one gallon of syrup? If you haven’t ever been able to visit a maple farm, I highly recommend it. It’s an amazing process and I’ve never heard of a maple farmer that wasn’t happy to have a few extra hands around to help. You better hurry though, the season often only lasts 4-6 weeks before the trees bud and the sap stops running.
I’m hosting this weeks Virtual Potluck featuring the Coombs Family Farms organic maple products. If you haven’t already read my host blog, go check it out to learn more about this family farm and see what everyone else created too!
When I first saw the Coombs Family Farms Maple products I figured I would make some kind of dessert with them, but then I figured, where’s the challenge in that?
So I decided to add some maple sugar and syrup to a brining solution and create a fantastic pork loin. Just slightly sweet, with a caramelized crust, this pork was succulent and perfectly cooked.
I have to say though, it was nothing without this Roasted Pear Chutney. I honestly can hardly describe it, but it was amazing. It’s got some heat, sweetness and tartness all wrapped up in one bite. It paired perfectly with the pork but I honestly am going to make it with pretty much anything.
Maple-Brined Pork Roast
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup maple sugar
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons juniper berries
- 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1/4 cup fresh rosemary, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 12 garlic cloves, smashed
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
- 8 cups water
- 1 3-4lb pork loin roast
- Freshly ground black pepper
Mix all of the brine ingredients together in a nonreactive pot and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and stir the brine to ensure that the salt, sugar, and maple syrup have dissolved. Let the brine cool, then put it in a large nonreactive container and add the pork roast. Cover and refrigerate for no more than 12 hours.
Remove the pork from the brine and pat dry (without rinsing).
Season the roast with pepper. Heat 2 tbs of vegetable oil in a large pan over med-high heat. Sear the roast on all sides until browned. Place into a large roasting pan. Sprinkle 1 tbs of maple sugar over the top of the roast and cook at 400 degrees until internal temperature reaches 145° to 150°F. Remove from the oven, and place the roast on a plate, tented with foil for 10 minutes. Slice thinly and serve with Roasted Pear Chutney.
Roasted Pear Chutney
adapted from Epicurious
- 2 ripe Bosc pears, peeled and cut in half
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon maple sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Toss the pears with the lemon juice, sugar, the cinnamon, and cloves. Coat a sheet pan with half the vegetable oil. Set the pears cut side down on the pan. Brush the pears with the remaining oil. Roast until caramelized and tender, 40 to 50 minutes, depending on the degree of ripeness. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
While the pears are roasting, bring the remaining ingredients to a boil in a nonreactive saucepan. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Using a small spoon or a melon baller, scoop out the cores of the cooked pears. Cut the pears into small chunks.
Combine the pears and the onion mixture. Serve over the roasted pork.
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I am sure you love food. Otherwise, you won’t be here. As a full-time and a part-time chef at a local restaurant, I know my way around food. Ever since I was a young girl, I enjoyed helping my mom in the kitchen.
We would often experiment with the spices, ingredients, and flavors and create great meals for my brothers and dad. Since cocking was my first passion, I decided to go in that direction. I finished culinary school, got my first job, and started developing my skills.
Later when kids came, I had all the liberty in the kitchen to combine some of the unique flavors. A lot of them were a success, but now and there I would make a couple of mistakes.