Pork Loin Roast with Maple Glaze, Apples, and Cranberries is one of my favorite holiday recipes. It's beautiful and festive and incorporates so many great holiday flavors! It's a fantastic main course recipe for holiday entertaining because it can feed a crowd and is economical too!
Why You'll Love this Pork Loin Recipe:
You will love how tender and juicy this pork loin recipe is thanks to my easy pork brine recipe you can make the day before serving. The pork is seared in a skillet on the cooktop to lock in the flavor and then finishes off in the oven.
As it roasts with the sticky maple glaze, apples, and cranberries, it creates a delicious syrupy sauce that pairs beautifully with the pork!
What To Serve with Roast Pork Loin?
MAKE AHEAD TIP: The Twice Baked Potato Recipe can be made the day before and reheated in the oven while your pork rests and the sauce is reduced, helping your meal to time out perfectly.
How To Cook Pork Loin Roast
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STEP#1 Make the Pork Brine Recipe
The day before you plan to serve your meal, prepare the pork brine recipe and allow it to soak in the brine, in the refrigerator overnight. This will assure a juicy and succulent pork roast.
The pork brine recipe is super easy to make and involves dissolving the salt and brown sugar in warm water, allowing it to cool completely so that the brine doesn't actually "cook" the pork loin. Add cold water, fennel seeds, peppercorns, a bay leaf, and rosemary.
I like to put the pork brine in a 5qt Dutch oven because a 4lb pork loin roast fits in perfectly!
STEP#2: Sear the Pork Loin Roast
Next, you'll sear the pork loin roast in a large oven-safe skillet. This works out well since you'll finish roasting the pork in the oven, so if your skillet is oven safe it can go right from the cooktop to the oven.
I love using the Lodge 14.5" Blacklock Skillet for this because a 4lb pork loin roast fits in it perfectly! You'll sear the pork on all sides until golden brown and then transfer to a casserole dish to rest.
STEP#3: Deglaze the Pan and Add the Fruit
For this recipe, I love to deglaze the pan with hard apple cider because the apple flavor pairs beautifully with the pork.
But if you can't find hard apple cider you can also deglaze the pan with ½ cup of dry white wine, like a Chardonnay, and 1 cup of chicken broth. Or if you don't drink you could use 1 ½ cups of all chicken broth.
Then to the skillet, you'll add the apples and the cranberries, orange zest and ground cloves. This combination of flavors is so fantastic with the pork and really sells the holiday theme!
STEP#4: Baste the Pork with Maple Glaze
Place the seared pork loin on top of the bed of fruit. Then brush the maple glaze on to the pork and reserve the glaze to baste frequently while the pork roasts.
How Long to Roast a Pork Loin Roast?
Pork loin roast is best cooked when the internal temperature reaches 150F. Personally, I leave it in the oven until a meat thermometer reads 145F, about 30-40 minutes if you did a quick sear. But this will be less time, around 20 minutes if you did a longer sear.
The internal temperature of pork appears to be a "controversial subject" but there are new guidelines for cooking pork that allows for medium-doneness.
Allow the pork to rest on a carving board, covered with foil. As it rests, the internal temperature of the pork will come up to 150F and that will be perfect!
STEP#5: Reduce the Sauce and Season
As your pork rests, you may want to reduce the sauce on the cooktop, to create a more syrupy texture. At this stage, I also like to add some Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard to balance out the sweetness of the maple glaze a bit.
Then transfer the fruit to a large platter, creating a bed for the pork loin roast to rest upon.
STEP#6: Carve and Garnish
I like to carve half the pork loin roast and pair it with the other half left whole. This helps with leftovers if you don't finish the full loin, leaving it uncarved will keep it moist and prevent it from drying out.
You can garnish the pork with fresh rosemary and mandarin oranges. I like to fill their centers with whole cloves for a festive holiday look.
MORE GREAT HOLIDAY MAINS!
- Slow Roasted Lamb with Caramelized shallots
- Lobster Thermidor
- Classic Coq Au Vin
- Pan-Seared Salmon with Buerre Blanc Sauce
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- 4 lbs (18g) boneless pork loin roast
- PORK BRINE RECIPE:
- 1 cup hot water
- ⅓ cup kosher salt
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 7 cups (1680 ml) of cold water
- 1 tbsp (15ml) black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp (15ml) fennel seeds
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- freshly cracked pepper
- 2 tbsp (30ml) vegetable oil
- FOR APPLES AND CRANBERRY SAUCE:
- 5 cups (750g) gala apples, peeled cored and sliced into wedges
- 1 ½ cups (350ml) hard cider or ½ cup (110ml) of white wine and 1 cup (240ml) chicken broth or 1 ½ cups (350ml) chicken broth
- 1 ½ cups (225g) of fresh cranberries
- ¼ tsp (1.25ml) ground cloves
- 8-10 peels of a navel orange created with a vegetable peeler (save orange for juice for glaze)
- FOR GLAZE:
- ½ cup (120ml) maple syrup
- 1 tbsp (15ml) Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp (15ml) soy sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp (15ml) fresh orange juice
- ¼ cup (45g) brown sugar
- 2 tsp (10ml) apple cider vinegar
- ¼ tsp (1.25ml) ground cloves
- 2 tbsp (30ml) of freshly minced rosemary
- For Finishing Sauce:
- ½ tsp (2.5ml) Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp (15ml) Dijon Mustard
The Day Before: Create the Brine and Brine the Pork
In a small saucepan add 1 cup of water and the salt and the sugar. Simmer until sugar and salt are dissolved.
Pour this mixture into a large 5-quart Dutch oven. Add then 7 cups of very cold water (to cool the brine down) then add the peppercorns, fennel seeds, garlic, bay leaf, and rosemary. Place lid on the Dutch oven and place it in the refrigerator until the brine is completely chilled. At least 30 minutes. The brine must not be warm at all before adding the pork otherwise it will start to “cook” the pork before you are ready!
Then place the pork loin roast in the Dutch oven, making sure the brine is covering it completely, add a cup more water if needed or cover with a plate, instead of the lid, to push the pork down. Refrigerate at least 12 hours, but 24 hours is even better! Pork can brine up to 2 days.
To Prepare the Pork:
Remove the pork loin and rinse it well of the brine. Transfer the pork to a casserole dish. Then drain the brine through a fine-mesh sieve to catch all the peppercorns, fennel seeds etc. Discard the solids, and pour the brine solution down the drain.
Pat the pork loin dry with a paper towel. Then season with freshly cracked pepper.
Then prepare the glaze by adding all ingredients into a small pitcher or bowl and set aside.
Then in a large oven-safe skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Sear the pork loin, fat side down first, and then continue with other sides and ends. Sear until golden brown. Then transfer the pork loin to a large casserole dish or plate to rest.
Deglaze the skillet with the hard apple cider (or wine, or broth) until reduced slightly. Then add the apples, the cranberries, orange peels and sprinkle with the cloves and stir to combine and form a single layer. Place the pork loin on top of the fruit.
Brush the loin with ⅓ of the glaze, reserving the rest for basting.
Place skillet in a 375F oven for 30-40 minutes, basting with the glaze every 10 minutes. At the final 10 minutes, pour the remaining glaze on top of the pork, allowing it to spill down into the fruit.
Take the pork out of the oven when it reaches 145F with a meat thermometer. Remove the pork from the skillet and allow it to rest on a carving board, covered loosely with foil. The pork will then come up to 150F which is the perfect internal temperature for serving.
Then place the skillet back on the cooktop. Whisk in the Worcestershire sauce and mustard and then set on a medium-high flame to reduce the sauce until syrupy and thickened.
Transfer sauce to a large platter, creating a bed of sauce, carve half of the pork into ¼ inch slices, place the loin on the fruit with the slices, splayed out from it.
Garnish platter with fresh rosemary and 2 mandarin oranges cut in half with a few whole cloves pierced into the center of the orange.
Roasting time in the oven can vary depending upon how quickly the pork loin roast is seared on the cooktop. A quick sear will take 30-40 minutes in the oven, whereas a longer sear might only take 20-30 minutes in the oven. A longer sear will cook the pork through a bit deeper. So be sure to rely on your meat thermometer for doneness.
Despite the time in the oven, pull it out when it reaches an internal temperature of 145F. Allow it to rest 10-15 minutes, on a carving board covered loosely with foil, and it will come up to 150F, the perfect internal temperature for serving.
If you don't have a large enough skillet to hold a 4lb pork loin, have your butcher cut it in half in (2) 2lb pieces. Cooking time may vary for the smaller pieces, taking less time in the oven. So be sure to rely on your meat thermometer and pull them out once the pork loin roast reaches an internal temperature of 145F.
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John Boos Block RA03 Maple Wood Edge Grain Reversible Cutting Board, 24 Inches x 18 Inches x 2.25 Inches
Carving Fork, Stainless Steel/Synthetic Material, Great for Sunday Roasts, Dinner Parties, Barbecues and More, 12 Inch
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, 15"
Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Round Dutch Oven, 4.5 qt., Cerise
BIA Cordon Bleu Porcelain 18-Inch Oval Serving / Fish Platter, White
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 444Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 4951mgCarbohydrates: 70gFiber: 10gSugar: 50gProtein: 19g