Herb Crusted Pork Loin with Shiitake Mushroom Gravy

This method for roasting a pork loin is the best I’ve found so far.  It yields a juicy, tender roast accented by savory garlic and herbs.  Served with Shiitake Mushroom gravy and mashed potatoes it makes the perfect autumn dinner for those first few crisp, cool nights.  Although it takes a couple of hours to prepare from start to finish, most of that time is just waiting for the pork to roast in the oven while you enjoy its savory scent.  Save this recipe for a weeknight when you’ve got a little extra time or, even better, a weekend evening at home with a football game to watch in the background.

Time: 120 minutes
Level: Easy/Intermediate
Cost: About $4-6 per plate
Serves: 6-8

 

Ingredients

For the Pork

  1. Pork Loin Roast, 3-4 lbs, trimmed of excess fat and/or sliver skin
  2. 2 TBSP butter
  3. 4-5 garlic cloves, finely minced
  4. 2 TSP each, dried: oregano, basil, thyme and rosemary
  5. 1 14oz can beef broth
  6. 2 140z can chicken broth

For the Shiitake Mushroom Gravy

  1. Pan drippings and broth from pork loin (above)
  2. 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  3. 1/2 cup dry Sherry
  4. 2 tablespoons butter
  5. 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  6. 1 small shallot, finely minced
  7. 12 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, sliced (dried ones work too, just be sure to reconstitute them ahead of time – if using dried, follow the instructions on the package for how to do this)
  8. (about) 1/3 cup whipping cream

Instructions

For the Pork:

Preheat oven to 275F

Take whatever pan you plan to make the gravy in (I prefer a large sauté pan) and add all three cans of broth.  Place a cooling rack (or spare grill grate) on top of the pan.

Crush garlic cloves and herbs together using a mortar and pestle or in a bowl with a wooden spoon.  Add butter and continue to crush/mix until formed into a relatively smooth paste.

Using cooking twine, tie the pork loin up in several places, getting it as cylindrical as possible to ensure even cooking.  Slather pork loin on all sides with garlic-herb-butter mixture and place on top of the cooling rack which is on top of the sauté pan.  Pop the whole assembly into the oven on the center rack and roast for 2-2.5 hours, or until the internal temperature of the pork loin registers 155F.  Use an instant-read thermometer or probe thermometer to ensure correct temperature (you DO have at least one of these tools in your kitchen, right?  If you don’t, order one now!)

Sit down with a beer and watch a football game.

When the internal temperature of the pork reaches 155F, remove the roasting assembly from the oven (careful, it will be HOT).  Place the sauté pan on the stove top.  Transfer the pork loin to a baking sheet.  Change oven setting from BAKE to BROIL – HIGH and pop the pork loin on the baking sheet under the broiler for 3-5 minutes to brown the herbs.  Keep an eye on it; you want the herbs to brown not burn.  Once the herbs are browned, remove the pork loin from under the broiler, transfer to a carving board and allow to rest under loosely tented aluminum foil while you make the gravy.  Don’t forget to turn the oven off!

For the Gravy

Mix flour and sherry together to form a smooth paste.  Try to eliminate any large clumps of flour – the smoother the better!

In a separate frying pan (not the one that was in the oven), melt butter over medium-high heat until foamy and add shallot and mushrooms.  Sauté until most of the butter is absorbed into the mushrooms and shallots are mostly translucent, 3-4 minutes.  Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, 1-2 more minutes.  Add mixture into the pan with the drippings and broth. Stir in flour-sherry mixture and bring to a boil, stirring often.  Boil until thickened into gravy, about 10 minutes.  Add cream, and allow gravy to return to a simmer.  Continue to stir frequently until gravy reduces to desired consistency.

Slice pork loin into 1/4 inch thick medallions.  Serve with gravy, mashed potatoes, and green beans.

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