Nov 17th, 2005
I had some of the fennel, coriander, orange zest spice mixture left over after I roasted my tomatoes and I really wanted to do something with it because it smelled so good. Over the summer Jim and I had dinner at Le Pichet, a restaurant I know Shannon enjoys when she is in town. We had a pork loin that was cooked with large white beans in a star anise scented broth. The licorice taste of the anise went really well with the pork, and the spice mix I had reminded me of that combination.
So I decided to do a pork roast and rub it with the spice mix. I doubled the amounts called for in the tomato recipe because I had a very large 4 to 5 pound roast, but I think with a more reasonable 2 or 3 pounder you could use the amounts as is. A pork loin roast would have been very good but was not to be found at my local grocery that day, so I used a cheaper, fattier butt roast instead. No problems here, I really have nothing bad to say about pork fat. The cooking technique was adapted from the Pork Roast with Rosemary and Garlic in Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. And we served the pork roast with Brussel Sprouts with Lemon-Mustard Butter and mashed potatoes.
I was very happy with the results, the pork tastes complex even though the preparation is very simple. And it looks impressive. This would be a great easy meal for when your meat-loving family drops by on a Saturday.
Roast Pork with Fennel, Coriander, and Orange Zest2-3 lb pork roast
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
Preheat your oven to 450F. Coarsely grind all the spices except the orange zest in a mortar or whiz them a few times in a spice grinder. You'll probably want to get these a little bit more finely ground than for the tomatoes, but a fine powder certainly isn't necessary or even desired. Put the pork roast in a baking pan or a foil lined rimmed cookie sheet. Rub the spice mix over the sides and top of the roast and put it in the oven. Roast for 15 minutes at 450F and then turn the oven down to 325F.
Using a meat thermometer inserted into the middle of the roast, check the temperature after a little over an hour. If you like pink in the middle you'll want to pull the roast out at 145F, if you like it well done you can let it go up to 155F. Right in the middle at 150F would probably be good as the temperature will rise about another ten degrees after you take the roast out of the oven and let it rest. Cooking time will most likely be around an hour and a half unless you have a monster roast like I did which will result in a longer cooking time. If you do have a 4 or 5 pound roast just double the spice amounts called for here.
Let the meat sit for at least ten to fifteen minutes and then carve and serve.