We love drinking cider in the fall, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the only way to enjoy it. The intensely fruity beverage is also ideal for cooking with, whether added to doughnut or muffin batter, used as a syrup for pancakes or a glaze for butternut squash, or even as a marinade and braising liquid for ham, lamb, chicken, beef or succulent roasted pork!
Cider-Brined Pork Roast
5 cups of apple cider
1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1/3 cup of packed dark brown sugar
3 fresh bay leaves
5 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon of whole black peppercorns
1 (2 1/2-pound) center-cut boneless pork loin roast
2 cloves of garlic
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoons of ground pepper
4 apples, cored and quartered
3 onions, quartered
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of flour
In a medium saucepan, bring two cups of the cider, 1/3 cup salt, brown sugar, two of the bay leaves, cloves, and peppercorns to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in 2 cups each water and cider; cool to room temperature. Place pork loin in a 2-gallon resealable plastic bag and pour in cooled cider solution. Allow meat to brine, refrigerated, for at least 8 hours or up to 1 day.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Finely chop garlic, 1 sprig rosemary, and remaining bay leaf. Add remaining salt and ground pepper; mash into a paste with the flat side of a knife.
Remove pork loin from brine (discard liquid), pat dry, and rub with garlic-herb mixture. Place in large roasting pan and scatter apples and onions around it. Break remaining rosemary sprig into 4 pieces and scatter atop apples and onions. Transfer pan to the oven and roast meat until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Transfer pork loin to serving platter with all but 4 pieces each apple and onion. Allow meat to rest 15 minutes before slicing.
Meanwhile, place roasting pan with drippings and reserved apples and onions on stovetop over medium heat and add remaining 1 cup cider plus 1 cup water. Cook, scraping browned bits from bottom of pan, until liquid is hot, about 2 minutes. Strain mixture into bowl, pressing the liquid from sthe olids and set aside. Return roasting pan to stovetop and melt butter over medium-high heat. Sprinkle in flour and whisk until golden brown. Whisk in reserved cider mixture and continue to whisk until gravy is smooth. Serve hot alongside sliced pork, apples, and onions.