pork roast with calvados pan sauce and caramelized apples


I'm just going to get right to this one.  Pork roast is delicious.  Pork roast with Calvados, cream, butter and apples is ridiculously super delicious.

Consider this fall on a plate.  It really is perfect for a nice, rustic yet elegant dinner party. Or dinner on a Thursday night as it was in my house.  It also makes for some killer leftovers.  I served it with roasted baked potatoes and a lovely salad of mixed greens, toasted hazelnuts, diced apples and gorgonzola.

pork roast with calvados pan sauce and caramelized apples

For the pork:

2-3 lb boneless pork loin roast (tied)

pork spice rub

For the rub:

pork spice rub

2 t mustard seeds

1 t coriander 

1 1/2 t black peppercorns

1 t kosher salt

2 T finely chopped fresh rosemary 

Dry toast the mustard seeds and coriander in a small pan JUST until the oils are released and the spices become fragrant.  Depending on the freshness of your mustard seeds, you will need to watch them very carefully or they will pop out of the pan like Mexican jumping beans.  Seriously.  If this does happen, quickly take the pan off the heat and cover immediately or you will have hot mustard seed bombs flying all over your kitchen.  Put the toasted spices along with the peppercorns and salt into a spice or coffee grinder.  Pulse until you have a nice smooth powder.  In a small bowl, mix the spice mixture with the rosemary.

Heat the oven to 425°

Coat the entire roast in the spice rub.  Place the roast in a cast iron skillet or heavy flame-proof roasting pan.  (I also added 4 gorgeous local russet potatoes to the pan.  I pricked them all around with a fork so they would absorb all of the porky deliciousness in the pan)  Roast for about an hour to an hour 15, turning the roast every 15-20 minutes or so to get even browning. The internal temp should be 140°  No more, please.

Let rest for at least 10 minutes or while you make the pan sauce.

For the apples:

2 apples, sliced

2 T butter

1 t sugar

2 T calvados

Melt the butter over medium heat in a large sauté pan.  Add the sliced apples and toss around to coat with butter.  Cook slowly and evenly.  When the apples begin to soften, add the sugar and lower the heat.  Continue to turn the apples for even color and texture.  Right before they are about the softness that you like, add the calvados. Toss a little more to let the alcohol burn off.  I prefer the skin on the apples to keep the texture a little and for color.  Totally your call. You can do this while the pork is roasting and heat them up again right before you serve.

For the sauce:

1 large shallot, diced

2 T butter

1/3 cup Calvados

2 T dijon mustard (or more to taste)

1/2 cup heavy cream  (if you are anti-cream, use chicken broth for more of a "jus" than a sauce)

1/3 cup apple cider

2-3 T combined of minced fresh thyme and rosemary

salt and pepper to taste (keeping in mind that there is plenty of salt, too, in the spice rub on the pork)

After the pork is done, remove from the pan and let rest on a cutting board.  Carefully pour off any excess oil from the pan and put the skillet on the stove top over medium heat (it will still be super hot from the oven)  Deglaze the pan with the Calvados, loosening all of the juicy good sucs that have formed in the pan.  Add the shallots and cook for a quick minute.  Add the cream and cider.  Next, add the mustard to thicken and add some well needed acidity to the sauce.  Toss in the herbs, check for seasoning and hold on low heat while you slice the pork.

Serves 4-6