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Roasted Pork Loin Recipe with Sweet Potato and Rice Cakes

Roasted Pork Loin Recipe with Sweet Potato & Jasmine Rice Cakes + Sweet and Sour Glaze

In Life:

Taking it easy. It’s a term we’ve all heard before. Some people are masters of it. Some of us struggle with simply “taking it easy.” And by “us” I mean me. Something I’ve actively had to work very hard on is making time to stop and rest. To take it easy for a while. I still haven’t figured out exactly why I have a hard time just relaxing and taking it easy. But I sure do intend to find out. I will say that I have gotten better at it, and I’m giving myself credit for that. Small victories!

Taking it easy, aka relaxing, is actually an activity that’s required for a healthy balanced life. The brain cannot go active 24/7. It’s not healthy. Our minds need downtime to process what we’ve encountered, learned and experienced. This is one of the things accomplished during nightly sleep. Regular intervals of relaxing also contribute to this process. Allowing the mind to “shut off” and rest every now and then is essential. Excessive sedentary living isn’t good for the body, of course. But stopping and relaxing daily is very much needed.

Since it’s very hard for me to just take a full day off and do nothing but relax, I try to make the most of my relaxation periods. In the evening, I savor the couple of hours Jeremy and I spend watching baseball or something on Netflix. I try to be conscious of the fact that my body is resting, that my brain is relaxed. I don’t dwell on it too much lest I whirl myself up, but I do take the time to appreciate small moments of relaxation. It helps quite a bit.

What about you? How do you feel about “taking it easy” or relaxing? Find it easy, difficult or darn near impossible? Let me know! I’m really interested in how others manage this fascinating aspect of our lives.

In Cooking:

So, in cooking today we’re going to actually tackle a fairly big project. Not complicated or difficult. But it will take almost 4 hours from start to finish. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of relaxation time built in. It’s not all active time – in fact only one hour will be spent actively preparing this roasted pork loin recipe. And because I love you, I’ve paired it with a sweet potato and jasmine rice cake and topped it all off with a bit of sweet and sour glaze. I hope you’re hungry!

Roasted Pork Loin Recipe with Sweet Potato & Jasmine Rice Cakes + Sweet and Sour Glaze

I’m really proud of this recipe. It’s my second dinner recipe for the Eat Local Challenge here in New Orleans. For each dinner meal I’m producing this month, I’m featuring a different meat. Last week was redfish. Next week will be shrimp, and the fourth and final week is going to be beef. I can’t wait to show you what I’ve got planned! It’s hard keeping all these secrets from you. I’m terrible at it.

The reason this recipe takes so long is because I brined the pork beforehand. Brining pork helps it to stay moist and juicy in the cooking process. It also gives the pork a more perked up flavor because the meat is salted all the way through, not just on the surface. For my recipe, I cooked a small pork loin roast. This brine recipe works for bigger roasts as well – a gallon of brine will fit a pretty large sized roast in it. It’s totally worth the extra time to brine your pork loin roast.

Roasted Pork Loin

While I love roasted pork, my favorite part of this recipe is actually the sweet potato and rice cakes. I’m not sure how I even came up with these, but I’m so glad I did. The sweet and aromatic flavors of the cake pair nicely with the sweet and sour sauce and pork. I’ll note that I do call for the cakes to be refrigerated for an hour before baking. This is really just so they can stiffen up and are a bit easier to handle. If you really need to cook them right after making, you can do so. The batter will likely just be very sticky.

Sweet Potato and Jasmine Rice Cakes

Okay so I forgot to take a picture of the sweet and sour glaze for this recipe. But you can see it below on the pork. And actually, if and when I make this again, I’m going to make a bigger batch and cook it down longer to make it into an actual syrupy glaze. You’ll find this sauce to be a little loose, and that’s okay. That’s how the recipe calls for it to be cooked. It’s not technically a “glaze” but that was the idea so I’m sticking with it! I was very pleased with the combination of cane syrup, cane vinegar and jalapeño. It created a delicious sweet/tangy/spicy mixture. It’s a great compliment for pork.

Roasted Pork Loin Recipe with Sweet Potato & Jasmine Rice Cakes + Sweet and Sour Glaze

Check out my breakfast and lunch dishes for this week, the second week of the eat local challenge. Need other dinner ideas? Check out Week #1 Week #3 and Week #4‘s recipe round ups with links to each recipe.

Yield: 4 servings

Roasted Pork Loin Recipe with Sweet Potato and Rice Cakes

This roasted pork loin recipe is first brined and then served with sweet potato rice cakes and a tangy sweet and sour glaze.

Ingredients:

Brine for Pork:

  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup Steen's syrup
  • 1/2 cup Steen's cane vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon cracked peppercorns
  • 2 pounds boneless pork loin roast

Sweet Potato and Rice Cake:

  • 1 cup cooked jasmine rice
  • 2 cups cooked sweet potato (about 1 pound raw sweet potato)
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 1/8 cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 2 teaspoons Steen's cane vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • Unsalted butter - as needed to cook the cakes

Roasting the Pork Loin:

  • 1 tablespoon clarified butter

Sweet and Sour Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup dark Steen's cane syrup
  • 1/2 cup Steen's cane vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion bottoms (the white part)
  • 2 teaspoon fine chopped fresh jalapeño (seeds and pith removed)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Optional garnish: 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion.

Method:

Brining the Pork:

  1. Combine all ingredients in the brine section above, except pork, in a large bowl. Whisk well to combine and dissolve salt.
  2. Add pork and soak for 3 hours in the refrigerator.
  3. After 3 hours, remove the pork from the brine and pat dry.

While the pork is soaking in the brine, prepare the sweet potato and rice.

Sweet Potato and Rice Cake:

  1. Start with cooking the rice. I just cook mine in a rice cooker. You can prepare this however you normally prepare rice.
  2. Next move on to the sweet potato. Wash well and prick the sweet potato all over with a fork. Place on a plate in the microwave and cook for 15 minutes on high to steam. Flip sweet potatoes every five minutes to make sure they cook evenly.
  3. Prepare the remaining ingredients for the cakes and once the sweet potatoes are cooled, scrape them from the skins and combine all of the cake ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
  4. On a large sheet pan lined with a Silpat or parchment, portion out mixture with a 1/8 measuring cup.
  5. Refrigerate for at least an hour for the mixture to firm. We'll cook them later once the pork is closer to being ready.

Once the pork is removed from the brine, proceed to prepare it for the oven. Pre-heat the oven to 350 ºF.

Roasting the Pork:

  1. Heat the clarified butter in a skillet over high heat. Sear for 3 minutes on the fat side cap side (if still on the roast).
  2. Flip the roast and sear for 3 minutes on the second side.
  3. Using tongs, finish searing the small sides of the roast, about a minute each.
  4. Transfer the pork to a baking dish lined with aluminum foil. If you still have the fat cap on, place the roast in the oven fat side up.
  5. Cook 40 minutes. Using a bio-thermometer, check to make sure the internal temperature is 145 ºF. When reached, remove the pork roast from the oven and allow to sit for 3 minutes before cutting.
  6. Once cool enough to handle, trim off the fat cap (if still on the roast). Next, slice the roast against the grain, about half an inch thick.

While the pork is roasting, proceed to prepare the Sweet Potato and Rice Cake and the Sweet and Sour Glaze. Try to start these last two components below about 10-15 minutes out from the pork being done. If possible, try to prepare both at the same time.

Sweet and Sour Glaze: 

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Add the mixture to a small skillet over medium high heat.
  3. Lightly boil for about 2 minutes, until sauce is slightly thickened.
  4. Cover the skillet lightly with foil to keep the glaze warm.

Finishing the Sweet Potato and Rice Cake:

  1. Add a about a tablespoon of butter to a large skillet. Allow it to melt over medium high heat.
  2. Once butter is melted and skillet is sufficiently heated, add the sweet potato and rice cakes. Cook in batches and don't overload the skillet.
  3. Cook 3 minutes on the first side. Carefully flip and gently flatten the cake with the spatula. Cook another 3 minutes on the second side.
  4. Carefully remove the cakes from the skillet and repeat to finish cooking the portioned cake mix.
  5. While batch cooking, keep finished cakes warm under foil.

Once the pork is done, proceed to finish plating the dish.

Plating the Final Dish:

  1. Place 3-4 slices of pork loin on a plate and dress with some of the Sweet and Sour Glaze.
  2. Add 4-5 sweet potato and rice cakes to the plate to finish.
  3. If desired, garnish with extra thinly sliced green onion.

Prep:1 hour

Cook:40 min

Total:4 hour 40 min

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