Tra la! It’s May! Finally! The best month of the year! (Okay, that’s a lie. October is the best month of the year, but if you remove “the start of the hockey season” from the equation, May wins in a squeaker because it’s got my birthday.) To celebrate this auspicious event, Mother Nature has given us several days of cold weather, gray skies, and a promise of rain that has yet to be delivered on. So when I was grocery shopping for this week, I felt like it was late September, and actually looked at a mother shopping with her ten-year-old-ish daughter and found myself thinking, “I bet that kid is totally bummed about having had to go back to school.” Because of this autumnal feel in the air, I ended up planning on making a pork roast for dinner this week.
Meanwhile, Boomer went on a beer run to Triumph Brewery in Princeton; she returned home with the Viennese Lager we’re having a love affair with lately as well as a growler of Maibock, Triumph’s celebration of the new month. So tonight we had what I hope is our last wintry roasted meal with a celebratory May beer on the side.
The pork was done per one of Cook’s Illustrated’s recipes. I browned the boneless pork loin on all sides with a little salt and pepper in a bit of vegetable oil in a large skillet. Meanwhile, I cut two large fennel bulbs and two pounds of carrots into one-inch pieces and tossed them with three tablespoons each of butter and honey, plus some salt and fresh ground black pepper, in the bottom of a large roasting pan. I set the V rack over the carrots and fennel, nestled the pork into the rack, and let it go for 45 minutes in a 300-degree (F) oven. When it was done in the oven, I set the pork to rest under a foil tent and then returned the pan with the fennel and carrots to the oven, cranked the heat up to 500, and let them roast for another 15 minutes. Then the jus was put together in the pan I’d browned the pork in earlier. I sauteed a finely-chopped onion (the recipe calls for shallot, but I forgot to buy it) in the oil in the pan until it was soft, then added two cups of chicken stock, two bay leaves, two fresh thyme sprigs and 1/4 teaspoon of sugar. After simmering it down for 15 minutes, I squeezed in the juice from half a lemon, and we were good to go. Because Pookie’s only just starting her efforts to learn to like carrots, I also roasted some potatoes just with olive oil, salt and pepper.
This is a reliably tasty meal, and the carrots and fennel are just ridiculously delicious. But as I’m getting crazy antsy for the Farm season to start (especially the strawberries), I’d kind of rather I was being inspired to grill something filled with fresh veggies and herbs and sunshine and awesomeness. Fortunately, the beer was very Springy and festive. It was just the twist this dinner needed.