our family ate the classic turkey dinner for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Over the years I’ve roasted my share of the iconic birds, but sometimes I want something that generates the same celebratory feast vibe, works for a smaller gathering but can also feed a crowd, compliments the same kinds of side dishes, and doesn’t take all day to cook. That’s when I get a pork loin.
The whole loin from a good-sized pig can weigh more than 30 pounds, but most boneless loin roasts run 3-4 pounds, enough for 6-8 people. A good butcher can cut a smaller roast, but don’t skimp since the leftovers, like turkey, make great sandwiches. If you can find one with at least an inch thick fat cap, get it. It’s nice to have the rendered fat for making gravy, to me the most important part of a meat-centric feast.
From the kitchen
For the shopping list
boneless pork loin
black pepper, freshly ground
reserved pork fat
All Purpose flour
mirin (substitute rice vinegar with 1 teaspoon of sugar)
sake (substitute sherry)
From the kitchen
Roasting Pan or Skillet
Preheat oven to 500F.
Rub the pork loin all over with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then 2 tablespoons of both salt and pepper.
Place on a roasting pan, skillet, or other shallow pan that can go into the oven. Roast until the internal temperature reaches 145F, about 40-50 minutes.
Remove the roasting pan from the oven and transfer the pork loin to a platter. Cover loosely with foil.
Pour off any pork fat and reserve. Add a cup or so of water to the roasting pan and scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom. Save the pan juices and fat to make red miso gravy.
Put the fat from the roasting pan in a skillet, and, if necessary, add olive oil so there’s about 2 tablespoons total.
Stir in 2 tablespoons of flour and cook over medium heat for a few minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients (6 tablespoons of red miso, 1 tablespoon of Okinawan brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of shio koji, 2 tablespoons of mirin, 1 tablespoon of sake), stirring to combine. Bring to boil, stirring frequently, and cook until thick. Add additional water if needed to achieve the pourable consistency of traditional gravy.