Spring is about to sprung. We’ve had beautiful warm and balmy days, an unexpected early March snow and some grim, chilly days. But hope is on the horizon – the daffodils are out and the days now stay light longer. People are emerging from winter hibernation, enjoying being outside and ramping up social activities. We are, however, slightly before the glut of Spring and summer produce begins. I always feel a cooking lull about now. Not too much inspiring in the markets, variable weather and a general desire to be out and about again. So I find it a great time to turn to simple roasts for a lovely family meal or casual entertaining. But I am not inspired to spend hours over the stove.
I’ve been making various versions of this for years, it has almost seemed like not really a recipe, so I haven’t shared it before. But this time of year is perfect for it. You get a huge return on reward – two simple ingredients pay off in loads of flavor. Whizz some crushed pineapple with sweet and spicy pepper jelly and Bob’s you uncle – a glaze and a sauce. I really love this on a juicy boneless pork roast, which serves a crowd. I use a 2 ½ – 3 pound roast for 6 people, but you can absolutely use a larger or smaller piece. I (always) highly recommend a probe-style meat thermometer, like this one, for cooking meats to perfection. Investing $20 or so in this little gadget is one of my top cooking tips. At any rate, the best way to get a perfectly cooked pork roast is to gauge by temperature, so any cooking thermometer will do. 145 degrees is perfect, so take the roast out of the oven at 135 and let it rest lightly tented with foil until it hits 145 to preserve the lovely juiciness. Beautiful red onions burnished by cooking juices and glaze are delicious with this pork, and the sweet and tangy sauce adds a lovely touch to the finished dish. I love Braswell’s red pepper jelly, but any kind will work and you can buy mild or spicy to your taste – even a jalapeno jam would be a spicy twist.
Pork Roast with Pineapple Pepper Jelly
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple
1 ( 10.5 ounce) jar red pepper jelly, such as Braswell’s
2 ½ – 3 pound boneless pork loin roast
Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion
- Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Drain the pineapple over a bowl, saving the liquid, then put the crushed pineapple and the pepper jelly in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour 2/3 of the mixture into a small saucepan and reserve the remainder. Add enough water to the pineapple juice to make 1 cup.
- Pat the pork roast dry with paper towels, the generously sprinkle salt and pepper over every surface, patting it in firmly. Heat the olive oil in a high sided oven proof dish, like an enameled cast iron braiser or a cast iron skillet, over high heat until shimmering. Add the pork roast and brown on all sides. It will want to stick to the pan, but when it lifts easily with tongs, turn it over, getting all sides, including the ends, nicely browned. Remove the roast to a plate or a piece of foil.
- Pour half of the pineapple juice and water mixture into the pan to deglaze, scraping up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a spatula or wooden spoon. Put the roast back in the pan and pour over a little more of the juice mixture. Cook for 20 minutes.
- Peel and cut the onion into eight wedges. When the roast has cooked for 20 minutes, remove it from the oven (carefully with oven mitts). Leave the door open and reduce the temperature to 350 degrees. Nestle the onion wedges around the roast, the spoon the reserved 1/3 of pepper jelly mixture from the blender over the top of the meat, spreading it into an even layer. Pour the rest of the juice over the onions and around the meat, then return to the oven and cook until the internal temperature of the roast is 135 degrees, anywhere from 30 – 45 minutes. Baste the roast with the liquid from the pan a few times while cooking. Remove the pan from the oven and lightly cover with foil. Let the roast rest until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.
- While the roast is resting, heat the pineapple pepper jelly mixture in the saucepan over medium heat until warmed through.
- Slice the roast on a cutting board and serve with the onions and and pineapple pepper jelly sauce.