Although the idea of eating out on Valentine’s Day is appealing (no cooking, no dishes and I get to dress up), because so many restaurants do prix fixe menus for the romantic holiday I’d much rather eat out another night. (The menus sound like an economical idea, but as picky as I am I usually end up paying for a lot of food I don’t like.) So for Valentine’s Day, we will be eating in, although our menu has yet to be decided. If you are planning to cook for your sweetie, and you are trying to be more health conscious, then skip the red meat and try pork, which is much leaner.
I’ve already shared two yummy family favorites that would make a great Valentine’s Day meal (grilled pork tenderloin and Shake ‘N Bake pork chops), and this week I’ve taste tested a new one for you – pork roast with sweet potatoes, pears and rosemary. This week the bone-in pork loin roast is on special at Publix for $3.39 per pound. Since we’ve never made a pork roast before, I scoured for recipe ideas at www.porkbeinspired.com. Since my family loves sweet potatoes, when I saw the pork roast with sweet potatoesI knew we’d have a winner. Well, you know how things don’t always go as planned when you try something new… This was no exception. Overall, the flavors were scrumptious (I cleaned my plate and just finished leftovers for lunch), but next time we will do things a bit differently.
Pork Roast With Sweet Potatoes, Pears & Rosemary Ingredients (and our alterations):
- 3 1/2 pound bone-in pork center loin roast, excess fat trimmed to thin layer (I used a 1 1/2 pound boneless pork roast – the store didn’t have a bone-in on the shelf because I purchased it before it was on special and I didn’t have time to wait for them to cut one. I think the bone would have been better, but the boneless was still yummy.)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (I didn’t measure, just made sure it was well covered)
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped, plus more for serving (or 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary) (I used dried rosemary)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 1/2 pounds (6 medium) sweet potatoes, peeled, and cut lengthwise into sixths (I only used 3 sweet potatoes and it was still a lot, I don’t know what we would have done with six sweet potatoes! Fair warning, raw potatoes are tough to to cut)
- 3 firm-ripe Bosc pears, cut lengthwise into quarters, cored (I used whatever pears the store had)
- 1 12-oz bottle hard cider (can substitute 1 cup apple juice and 1/2 cup dry vermouth for the hard cider, or use all apple juice) (I skipped this step)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Rub pork all over with oil. Mix rosemary, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in small bowl. Rub all over pork.
Place pork, bone side down, in large flameproof roasting pan. Roast 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Roast 15 minutes more. Add sweet potatoes and pears to pan, stir gently to coat with pan juices, and spread as evenly as possible around roast. Season with salt and pepper. Roast, occasionally stirring sweet potato mixture, until instant-read food thermometer inserted in center of roast reads 145 degrees F and the potatoes and pears are tender, about 1 hour more. Transfer pork to carving board. Transfer sweet potato mixture to ovenproof bowl, tent with aluminum foil, and keep warm in turned-off oven. (If needed, increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F, and continue roasting sweet potato mixture until tender, up to 15 minutes longer.) Let pork stand for 10 to 15 minutes.
And well, since prep took longer and we were all hungry… we totally skipped the last step… Since I don’t love sauces, I thought it was great without the sauce. When I reheated my leftovers the pork got a little dry, which is where the sauce would have been helpful, but really the meal is good even without it.
Heat roasting pan over high heat. Add cider, bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits in pan with wooden spoon, and boil until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Pour into sauceboat. Carve pork. Transfer to serving platter, surround with sweet potato mixture, drizzle with 3 tablespoons of cider sauce, and sprinkle with rosemary. Serve with remaining sauce on the side.
The recipe came out great overall (really good flavors), but there are a few things I would do differently. First, three sweet potatoes and three pears makes for lots of leftovers (for family of three). If you don’t want leftovers (I had enough for two lunches), use two sweet potatoes and two pears. For a smaller boneless roast, you definitely want to keep an eye on the temperature with a meat thermometer. While the final part of the recipe approximated 1-hour to cook, and ours was ready in around 35 minutes. The potatoes and pears, however, need the full time to cook to make them tender so if you use a smaller roast you might want to put the potatoes and pears in early so they can cool longer. Next time I will also plan more time to make the sauce too.
The national association of pork (did you know there was such a thing) recomends that pork be cooked to 145 degrees. That temperature recommendation reflects advances in both food safety and the nutritional content of pork in recent years. This revised recommendation applies to pork whole muscle cuts, such as loin, chops and roasts. Ground pork, like all ground meat, should be cooked to 160 degrees F. Since food poisoning would put a damper on any evening (especially Valentine’s Day) it is important to cook meats thoroughly and practice good food safety. You can find more food safety tips (including a great chart on storage time for left overs) at www.foodsafety.gov.
For even more ideas pork ideas to wow your sweetie check out the recipe for Orange-Glazed Pork Roast or Grilled Indian Pork Kabobs with Sweet Onions and Red Bell Peppers.
Disclosure – This post is brought to you by the National Pork Board, Publix and TheMotherhood, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.