Pork loin roast doesn't get the attention as roasting cuts from beef or even the lush shoulder of its fellow pig, but with some bold seasoning and a watchful eye, this lean cut can help to make the season bright.
One of my favorite street foods is Tacos Al Pastor, in which pork slathered in red chile and dappled with pineapple is roasted on a vertical roaster, shaved into a tortilla and served with cilantro and onions. Borrowing from the flavor profile, I rubbed the pork loin in a paste made of ground red chile, grated garlic, minced onion, Rosemary-infused olive oil and a little fresh pineapple juice.
But pork loin is nothing if it isn't apt to go dry in your oven, so using the Ninja 3-Way Cooker I decided to take advantage of its steaming capability by filling the bottom of the pan with pork broth, fresh pineapple, whole garlic and whole dried red chiles.
From there, it was up to the Ninja, which did its job admirably. The steamy heat helped keep everything moist, and the liquid reduced nicely into a concentration of the chiles and pineapple. As the pineapple braised, it maintained its strong tropical flavor but lost its natural sugars. So when time came to make the sauce, added sugar was necessary.
To further protect the integrity of the loin, I wrapped it in Black Forest Bacon, though any bacon would do.
In the recipe below, I've included instructions for a standard oven. If you do have a Ninja or are considering one as a gift, the instructions are even simpler than below. You can sear the roast in the bottom of the cooker, remove it, rub and wrap it, then simply put it in the roasting basket and place it in the Ninja at 375.
Bacon-Wrapped Chile-Rubbed Pork Loin Roast with Al Pastor Reduction
3 pound pork loin roast
6 to 8 assorted dried chiles (ancho is mild, chiles de arbol are ultra hot, everything else is somewhere between)
1 whole pineapple peeled, cored and cut into chunks
6 cups water
5 to 6 slices bacon, I used Black Forest
6 cloves garlic, four left whole and two grated or minced into pulp
Half white onion minced
2 tablespoons ground red chile or chile blend
½ cup sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
5 green onions sliced thin for garnish
• Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
• Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Blanch the bacon slices in the boiling for a minute, remove and let cool. Set newly prepared bacon broth aside.
• Arrange pineapple chunks in the bottom of a roasting pan, top with red chiles and set aside.
• Heat a skillet over medium heat. Salt and pepper the pork loin, then set it fat-side down first in the skillet and brown on all sides. Remove pork loin from heat and let stand.
• Deglaze the skillet with a ½ cup of the pork broth, scrape the bottom, swirl the frond with the broth and pour into the roasting pan with the pineapple and red chiles. Pour all but 2 cups of the remaining pork broth into the roasting pan.
• Mix the ground red chile, oil, minced onion and garlic. Add a few drops of fresh-squeezed pineapple juice or water to complete the paste. Smear the paste all over the roast, using the back of the spoon to press it in.
• Wrap the pork with the bacon slices, and set it the roast on a roasting rack. Place the rack in the roasting pan on top of the pineapple and chiles.
After roasting for one hour use an instant-read meat thermometer to take the roast's temperature. When it reads 145, the pork loin is ready to come out of the oven.
• Once the thermometer reads 145, pull it from the oven and let it rest on a cutting board. Pour the pan drippings into a blender and liquefy. Strain the contents into a sauce pan with the remaining two cups of broth and bring to a boil. Add the sugar to the boiling liquid, and lower heat to medium-high until the sauce is reduced by half. When the liquid has converted into a thick, syrupy sauce, lower the heat to medium, slice the pork and serve it with your favorite starchy side like roasted fingerling potatoes or fragrant rice and garnish with slice green onion.
Source: Dave Cathey