Monday, March 19, 2012

Maple-Brined Pork Roast with Roasted Pear Chutney

The nights are cool and the days are warming. Maple trees start to drip their liquid gold into buckets from Maple farms across the NorthEast. Did you know that it can take up to 40 gallons of the sap to produce just one gallon of syrup? If you haven't ever been able to visit a maple farm, I highly recommend it. It's an amazing process and I've never heard of a maple farmer that wasn't happy to have a few extra hands around to help. You better hurry though, the season often only lasts 4-6 weeks before the trees bud and the sap stops running.
I'm hosting this weeks Virtual Potluck featuring the Coombs Family Farms organic maple products. If you haven't already read my host blog, go check it out to learn more about this family farm and see what everyone else created too!

When I first saw the Coombs Family Farms Maple products I figured I would make some kind of dessert with them, but then I figured, where's the challenge in that?

So I decided to add some maple sugar and syrup to a brining solution and create a fantastic pork loin. Just slightly sweet, with a caramelized crust, this pork was succulent and perfectly cooked.

I have to say though, it was nothing without this Roasted Pear Chutney. I honestly can hardly describe it, but it was amazing. It's got some heat, sweetness and tartness all wrapped up in one bite. It paired perfectly with the pork but I honestly am going to make it with pretty much anything.

If you haven't voted in the Nuts About Oats contest yet, please go check them out and vote for my recipe today! 

Maple-Brined Pork Roast

1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup maple sugar
1 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons juniper berries
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1/4 cup fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
12 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
8 cups water

1 3-4lb pork loin roast
Freshly ground black pepper

Mix all of the brine ingredients together in a nonreactive pot and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and stir the brine to ensure that the salt, sugar, and maple syrup have dissolved. Let the brine cool, then put it in a large nonreactive container and add the pork roast. Cover and refrigerate for no more than 12 hours. 

Remove the pork from the brine and pat dry (without rinsing). 

Season the roast with pepper. Heat 2 tbs of vegetable oil in a large pan over med-high heat. Sear the roast on all sides until browned. Place into a large roasting pan. Sprinkle 1 tbs of maple sugar over the top of the roast and cook at 400 degrees until internal temperature reaches 145° to 150°F.  Remove from the oven, and place the roast on a plate, tented with foil for 10 minutes. Slice thinly and serve with Roasted Pear Chutney.

Roasted Pear Chutney
adapted from Epicurious

2 ripe Bosc pears, peeled and cut in half
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon maple sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 small red onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Toss the pears with the lemon juice, sugar, the cinnamon, and cloves. Coat a sheet pan with half the vegetable oil. Set the pears cut side down on the pan. Brush the pears with the remaining oil. Roast until caramelized and tender, 40 to 50 minutes, depending on the degree of ripeness. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

While the pears are roasting, bring the remaining ingredients to a boil in a nonreactive saucepan. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Using a small spoon or a melon baller, scoop out the cores of the cooked pears. Cut the pears into small chunks.

Combine the pears and the onion mixture. Serve over the roasted pork.


  1. I want to eat this right now! Beautiful job, Matt.

  2. Must be wonderful! Pork with roasted fruit is delicious!

  3. Mat that looks Awesome! I think I may want that for dinner tonight.

  4. That looks like something off of the pages of a magazine! Delicious!

  5. This is just beautiful-- my next dinner club meal! :)

    1. Cathy, you will absolutely love it, I promise! If you have any questions as you make it, feel free to ask!

  6. This looks lovely, and I love the simplicity of the chutney. Pork works so well with pears and thyme. I'd love to see how the chutney works with other proteins too...

  7. Looks scrumptious! Would love to have some now!

  8. That looks crazy good! Pears/apples with pork is always a win... then again, most things with pork usually work out pretty well!

  9. I think this looks delicious but I eat smaller portions than the rest of my family and I would be hungry in an hour if I ate that as pictured. I do however have tons of fresh homemade maple syrup. Lol I have to cook everything in massive quantities as we have 10 children. I get great meat from a friend who farms and its about as "organic" as meat can be. Its hard to eat refined when I want to make sure the entire family eats and gets full. Any ideas for a family such as mine?

    1. Great question Heather. We've got 3 foster kids living with us right now so we're up to feeding 8 people, so we've had to get used to making a lot more food. A large pork loin like this is actually pretty easy becasue you can slice it up and portion it however you like. We're also doing a lot more casserole style dishes, not my favorite, but they feed the crowd.