By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal
Three or four years ago, I picked up a special edition of a Cooking Light cookbook featuring Italian food. It’s got all manner of pastas and sauces and soup recipes, but the one that intrigued me week before last was for a pan-roasted pork loin with what looked like melted leeks.
Charlie was largely unfamiliar with leeks and wasn’t sure he was going to like the taste – especially after he saw the grit left in the bottom of the bowl of water after I’d soaked them.
But once he smelled them cooking, he came around. And after he tasted them, he wondered why he’d waited so long to try them.
I’d never cooked a piece of meat like this on top of the stove before, but this recipe, which I made a few changes to, actually worked really well. We cooked our pork in a heavy Le Creuset Dutch oven, but any heavy-bottomed pan with a top would surely work.
I served the pork with whipped sweet potatoes and steamed French green beans. The leftover pork was delicious, too.
Pan-Roasted Pork Loin with Leeks
3 large leeks
1⁄2 cup water
1 tablespoon butter, divided
1⁄2 teaspoon salt, divided
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1 (3-pound) boneless pork loin, trimmed
1⁄2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
Remove roots and tough upper leaves from leeks. Cut each leek in half lengthwise. Cut each half crosswise into 1⁄2-inch-thick slices (you should have about 6 cups). Soak in cold water to loosen dirt.
Combine leeks, 1⁄2 cup water, 1 teaspoon butter, 1⁄4 teaspoon salt, and 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper in a large Dutch oven or deep sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook for 10 minutes or until leek wilts. Pour the leek mixture into a bowl.
Heat remaining 2 teaspoons butter in pan over medium-high heat. Add pork to pan. Cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Add remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper, and wine to pan; cook 15 seconds, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Return leek mixture to pan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2 hours or until pork is tender. Remove pork from pan. Increase heat to reduce leek sauce if too watery. Cut pork into 1⁄4-inch-thick slices. Serve with leek mixture.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.