Dry-brined pork with green peppercorn sauce
Prep 30 mins
Cook 2 hrs
Brining is a wonderful way to help maintain the moisture in meat and enhance the flavour. Brining a large cut in a traditional wet brine takes up quite a bit of space in the fridge, but dry-brining is just as effective. Essentially, it means salting the meat well in advance of cooking it – in this case, up to two days ahead. The salt draws out some moisture initially, but as it diffuses slowly into the meat, it improves the meat’s ability to retain moisture and remain tender during cooking. The technique is perfect for pork loin, which can otherwise tend to be dry, because it doesn’t have fat marbling through it. Leaving the rind exposed to air during the brining will help to produce crisp, crunchy crackling, too. We’ve served this roast pork with a green peppercorn sauce, which is a lovely finishing touch. Some roasted potatoes on the side would also work well. You’ll need to begin this recipe two days ahead to dry-brine the pork.
2kg piece of boneless pork loin, skin scored and tied with butcher twine
1 tbsp sea salt flakes
2 white onions, thickly sliced
GREEN PEPPERCORN SAUCE
60ml (1/4 cup) 1/4 cup chicken stock
60ml dry white wine
2 1/2 tbsp brandy
250ml pure cream
6 green peppercorn stalks (some peppercorns removed)
1. Season pork all over with sea salt flakes, then sit snugly into a container to protect the meat, but leave the skin exposed. Refrigerate for 1-2 days to dry-brine the meat and dry the skin.
2. Preheat oven to 240C (fan forced or as hot as oven will go). Place onion in a shallow roasting pan and place pork on top. It’s important the skin is exposed, a deep roasting pan is not as good. Rub olive oil, lemon juice and season with extra salt flakes on pork skin. Roast until skin crackles (30 minutes), then reduce oven to 180C, add 3 tbsp water to the pan away from the pork to avoid steaming, and roast until meat is just cooked through and internal temperature reaches 60C (40 minutes). Set pork aside to rest (at least 20 minutes, if you can rest longer, then reheat in a low oven, even better).
3. For the sauce, strain juices from pan, then strain off the fat (reserve the fat for roasting potatoes or vegetables), transfer pan juices to a small saucepan with white wine, brandy and 1/4 cup chicken stock and bring to the boil, then boil until reduced by half (5 minutes). Add cream and green peppercorns and simmer again until reduced by half. Check seasoning and season with salt if necessary.
4. Serve pork, thickly sliced with sauce spooned over.
Recipe and image by Eatable.