What happens when you spend the entire day butchering chickens, worming sheep, teaching a bummer lamb to find her mama’s nipple and you don’t get home until 6 pm AND none of the hens were meaty/tender enough to warrant human snacking? You rush around the kitchen like a lunatic, defrost some pork loin in the microwave and whip together a shoddy but uber-delicious meal in about an hour.
I am proud to have two excellent cast iron pans, one is smaller with a fitted lid, and the other is nice and large. With the lid in place, the smaller of the two because a perfect little dutch oven for “roasts for two.” I was uncertain to the time and temp need to cook the pork loin chunks, and didn’t want to UNDER cook them since they were still a bit frozen. I cooked them a little long and a little hot, so we ended up with loin that was a little dried out: but any dryness was well compensated for with some delicious gravy!
Since this wasn’t perfect, i won’t post this as a ‘recipe’ per say, but here is the method to my madness:
Preheat oven to 350. Chop one leek and 4 garlic cloves, scatter in small dutch oven. Place mostly defrosted, salted, peppered pork loin chunks on top of leeks, plus 3 ice cubes of condensed chicken/goat stock and about a half pint of water, a cayenne pepper and some dried sage. Top it all off with two handfuls of oyster mushrooms (yum!), cover with the lid and stick in the oven. While that’s cruising along, chop up some fingerling potatoes and half a cauliflower and toss with olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper. Spread evenly in the larger cast iron and set aside until about 30 minutes before dinner time/the roast is finished. Roast the veggies at least 30 minutes and be sure to stir a few times. I cooked the roast about an hour, but could have shorted it it or reduced the temp. Cook the loin to be at LEAST 145 degrees internal temp. Once your meat is cooked, turn off the oven and remove the dutch ovenlet, set the meat aside (i used a covered pan set upon the burner that doubles as the oven exhaust to keep the meat warm) and add a bit of corn starch (pre-mixed with cold water, about a tablespoon) to the juices over a burner at medium heat. Stir until simmering and continue to stir until thickened to your preference. Remove the roasted veggies from the oven and serve the meat and potatoes side by side, drizzled with the hearty mushroom gravy. So good!
I couldn’t have asked for a better meal after a hard day of work. Though, hopefully next time we’ll get to eat some of the meat from my day of butchering too, not just Pocket.
What’s your favorite thing to cook after a hard day’s work?