A little piggy roast for wintertime meals sounds about right to me.
Last week we had enough comfort food to feed an army, what with all that ričet. But this week, I thought we'd take a look at a recipe you could use if you're having a very small holiday gathering this year. Maybe you can't make it out to your family celebrations, or maybe you just want to stay home and spend your holiday with a very few select people to keep things easy, light, and fun. Either way, I've got you, because today we're making a sweet, delicious pork roast, with some quick and cozy sides.
This recipe is a bit more German based, as I looked to The Daring Gourmet's Senfbraten (or mustard roast) for inspiration, with a few of my own additions. What we ended up with was something simple, but certainly not lacking for flavor whatsoever, with a sweet gravy to go with pork that just fell apart. The sides, a red cabbage simmered with apple and sweet spices, and a plain bit of boiled potato, reminded me of what my mom used to cook up whenever she had a pack of bratwursts ready for dinner—a classic, rich taste balanced out with something a little more palate cleansing.
And with ingredients like apple, cinnamon, mustard, raisins, and cabbage, this dish is the perfect thing to get your winter festivities going, even for a smaller gathering!
Magic in Apple Raisin Pork Roast
Did you know? During the old days (and I mean the really old days), the Scandinavian tradition for Yule was to sacrifice a pig to the god Freyr. For that reason, pork seems like it makes plenty of sense to have on a Yuletide feast. Even for Christmas, I know my folk tend to do some kind of pig or even duck roast (though my boyfriend's Ukrainian family actually has salmon as the main course). But the magical properties of pig itself invite wealth and luck, and so do the rest of these ingredients that come together to make this meal the whole package.
Apple and cinnamon bring luck, love, and prosperity, mustard brings fertility and prosperity, raisins (or shriveled little grapes) add a note of fun and joy, of optimism and stress relief, and cabbage is a lucky little leaf. With the powers of the Sun, the Moon, Venus, Mars, as well as the powers of fire, water, and earth, you have the basis for plenty of optimism, joy, beautiful memories, abundance, and fiery, passionate spirits. It's time to let loose, especially with a hearty, sweet dish like this!
Apple Raisin Pork Roast
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 90 minutes
Makes 3-4 Servings
2 1/2 lbs pork tenderloin
3-4 Tbsp German or Czech mustard
1 large jar of red cabbage
2 medium apples, chopped (one for gravy, one for cabbage)
1/2 cup raisins
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
3lbs potatoes, peeled & diced
2 1/2 cups beef broth
3 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp thyme
1/4 tsp clove
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1 large bay leaf
Salt & pepper to taste
Cut tenderloin into pieces and slather generously with mustard.
Fry tenderloin in pot until browned on each side.
Remove pieces, add onion, & fry until translucent.
Add minced garlic, frying until fragrant.
Deglaze with white wine & cook until wine evaporates.
Add one apple, thyme, raisins, broth, & meat back into pot.
Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
30min before the pork is done, peel & dice your potatoes.
Boil the potatoes in salted water until fork tender.
Put cabbage into a pot, then add apple, cinnamon, clove, & nutmeg.
Simmer cabbage, stirring occasionally.
Put 3 Tbsp flour into a bowl with just enough water to make a batter-like slurry.
Remove pork from the broth, cover with foil, & add flour slurry to the pot.
Cook the gravy until thick, then serve everything together.
The grape and apple, the cinnamon and nutmeg—they all find their way into holiday foods one way or another, and here, they're absolutely delicious as part of the main meal. The cabbage is punchy, but sweet, the pork itself brightened by the mustard and made all the more savory-sweet with the gravy, and a bite of potato in between helps cleanse the palate for the next bite. You might also make a yogurt sauce to go with your potato, or swap for roasted or mashed potato, if you'd prefer. Nonetheless, I do hope you enjoy, and that you have a great holiday season, no matter what your plans are!