Suzanne Goin’s cookbook “Sunday Suppers at Lucques”  is a collection of seasonal meals from her award-winning restaurant in Los Angeles.  It is not uncommon that cookbooks by chefs of her caliber become coffee table books, that are rarely put to use,  because either the recipes are too involved or the ingredients are too hard to find.  That’s not the case for Sunday Suppers.   Many of its recipes are uncomplicated, but their small details make them special.   In this recipe for pork roast the double application of a simple  mustard and herb marinade develops a delicious flavor.  It’s hard to improve a classic, but this method does it.

(adapted from Suzanne Goin)

1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1 Tbs thyme leaves + 6 full sprigs
2 Tbs fresh parsley leaves, chopped
3 Tbs olive oil, divided
6 cloves garlic, smashed
pork loin (center cut, about 3 pounds)
3 sprigs rosemary
3 sprigs sage
6 Tbs butter, sliced
salt and pepper

for mustard breadcrumbs
2 Tbs butter
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 tsp thyme leaves
1 tsp chopped parsley

Whisk the mustard, thyme leaves, parsley, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a shallow baking dish. Stir the garlic, and brush the mixture all over the pork loin. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or at least 4 hours). Remove the pork from the fridge one hour before cooking, after 30 minutes season it well with salt and pepper. Reserve the marinade.

Heat the oven to 325 F. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet until it is almost smoking. Place the pork loin in the pan, sear it on all sides, until well browned (do not move the pork around too soon, you need to allow the browning to take place). The whole process should take 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the pork to a roasting rack, and brush the reserved marinade all around it. Reserve the pan to make a sauce.

Arrange the rosemary, sage, and thyme sprigs on the roast and top with 3 tablespoons of butter. Roast the meat until a thermometer reads 120F – about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let the pork rest at least 10 minutes before slicing.

The pan sauce….

While the pork is roasting make a sauce: heat the pan you used to sear the meat on medium,  add 1/2 cup water (or chicken stock if you prefer)and stir until it boils, also scraping the bottom of the pan. Reduce by boiling a few minutes, swirl 3 tablespoons of butter and reserve until time to serve.

The mustard breadcrumbs…
Heat the oven to 375F. Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, whisk in the mustard, thyme, and parsley. Remove from the heat, let it cool slightly, and add to the breadcrumbs, tossing to coat. Transfer to a baking dish and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown.

To serve, slice the meat, spoon the sauce over, and shower it with mustard breadcrumbs.


to print the recipe, click here

I’m picky about center cut pork loin, because it may become dry, even if I’m careful not to overcook it.  It is indeed difficult to overcome the lean nature of today’s pork. This recipe joins the two or three tried and true methods that I trust, and I imagine anyone who makes it will feel the same way.  With green beans, a little orzo on the side and my perfect match on the other side of the table…. life is good! 😉

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