This recipe for oven roasted pork loin is an easy family dinner. Cabbage, potatoes and carrots cook right along with the pork for a tasty meal that is easy to make but impressive enough to serve for a holiday dinner party.
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Pork loin is an excellent cut of meat for cooking, because it is tasty, versatile and relatively inexpensive. This makes it a great meal to serve when you are expecting a crowd! This recipe roasts the pork in the oven which results in tender juicy pork. I also roast cabbage, potatoes and carrots right along with the pork, to make it a complete meal in the roasting pan.
What is the Difference Between Pork Loin and Pork Tenderloin?
Despite the similar names these two cuts of meat are very different and need very different cooking techniques. Pork loin is cut from the back of the pig, and it is large, usually between 2 and 5 pounds. It has a layer of fat along the top which helps keep the meat juicy.
Pork tenderloin is long and thin and has less fat. Pork tenderloin is ideal for quick cooking over high heat, like sautéing or roasting quickly. If you try to substitute pork tenderloin in this recipe it will be seriously over cooked!
Roasting a Pork Loin in the Oven
The traditional way to roast pork loin is in the oven and that is how it is cooked in this recipe. This recipe is flavored with lots and lots of caraway seed which gives the final dish a delicious and unique flavor. I cooked this recipe in a clay cooker, but a roasting pan or pyrex baking pan will work fine as well. In this recipe the vegetables serve as a rack for the pork, so you need a deep pan, but you don’t need a pan with a rack.
The first step in this recipe is to saute the onions and carrots with the caraway seed. This starts to release their flavor and gives them a nice brown color. Then saute the with more caraway seed. The vegetables are put into the roasting pan to form a base for the roasted pork loin to sit on.
Then season the pork loin with caraway seeds and garlic to form a nice flavor base on the outside. The pork roast is browned in the same skillet used for the vegetables. Browning the pork before roasting it is a key step that helps give the dish its deep flavor. If you are really in a rush you could skip browning the vegetables, but don’t skip browning the pork!
The browned pork is placed on top of the vegetables so that they form kind of a rack for the pork. Make sure to place the pork loin so the fat layer is on top. The fat will drip down onto the vegetables and pork and add flavor.
A combination of chicken broth and molasses is used to deglaze the skillet, which is then poured over the vegetables creating lots of moisture to steam the vegetables. The molasses flavor really becomes infused into the vegetables for a deliciously sweet taste! This is roasted uncovered in the oven.
After about 45 minutes of cooking I add potatoes around the pork roast, pushing them down into the other vegetables. By the time the pork roast has finished cooking the potatoes are nicely roasted, but not overdone like they would be if you added them right at the start.
How do I know when the Pork Roast is Done?
The best way to figure out if the roast is done is to test the temperature with a meat thermometer. The USDA modified the guidelines for pork in 2011 and recommends it be cooked to at least 145 F. Between about 145 F – 160 F this pork roast will be moist and delicious.
That means it is ok if the pork is a little pink inside, and you no longer need to cook pork until it is dry and unappetizing! But to keep from overcooking it you need to test the temperature with an accurate thermometer and not rely just on cooking time because ovens vary and you don’t want to eat overcooked pork.
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Can I make this Roasted Pork Loin in a Slow Cooker?
Pork loin is a good meat for a crock pot, because it benefits from cooking slowly and the fat keeps it moist. I’m not a huge fan of vegetables when they have cooked all day in the crock pot, especially potatoes. This is one reason I’ve never done a lot of crock pot cooking, even though it is so convenient. So while I think this pork recipe would taste delicious in a slow cooker I’d leave the potatoes out. But you can just follow the recipe and put it in the crockpot on low for 6 hours instead of in the oven for 1 ½ hours, either adding the potatoes with the other vegetables or leaving them out.
Can I make this Roasted Pork Loin in an Instant Pot?
Adapting a recipe for a pressure cooker is a little more complicated and I’d want to test out the recipe with my Instant Pot before I recommended trying it. This recipe is one of my favorite pork recipes and I do plan to make it in the Instant Pot, but I haven’t yet. If you really want to use the Instant Pot try my recipe for Instant Pot Pork Loin with apples and mashed potatoes instead.
The Secret to a Juicy Pork Roast
To sum up here are the two key things you can do to make sure your roasted pork loin is juicy and delicious.
- Cook the roast with the fat layer on top.
- Test the meat temperature so you don’t overcook the roast pork loin.
This recipe takes about 2 hours to make, but the result is delicious! The combination of the caraway seeds and the molasses really flavors the cabbage and give it a milder taste. It tastes sweet and doesn’t have the distinctive taste I associate with boiled cabbage. That makes this meal a good one even for those (like me) who don’t love cabbage!
This complete dinner recipe is perfect for a family dinner on a night you have a little more time to cook, or for when you want to serve a fancy roast for a gathering without breaking the bank!
- 4 teaspoons caraway seeds, divided
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 carrots
- 1 small cabbage, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 pounds boneless pork loin roast
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 15 small red potatoes, halved
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Crush the caraway seeds in a blender or coffee grinder.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet on medium. Saute the onion, carrots, bay leaves, 1 teaspoon of the crushed caraway seeds for 5 minutes. Put the vegetables in the bottom of a roasting pan.
- Add 1 T oil, the cabbage and another 1 t. caraway seeds to the skillet. Saute for 5 minutes and add to the roasting pan.
- Combine remaining caraway seeds, garlic, salt and pepper. Rub the pork roast with the mix. Then heat the rest of the olive oil and brown the pork roast on all sides. Put it on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan.
- Add the broth and molasses to the skillet. Scrape the bottom of the skillet to deglaze it. Pour the liquid over the pork roast and vegetables. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Roast uncovered in the oven for 45 minutes. Then stick the potatoes in around the roast and cook for another 45 minutes, uncovered.
- Check the temperature with a meat thermometer and make sure the roast has reached at least 145 F. If not put it back in the oven a little longer.
- Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
You can adapt this for a slow cooker by just putting it all (including the potatoes, if desired) in a slow cooker after you have browned everything and cooking for 6 hours on low.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 896 Total Fat: 30g Saturated Fat: 9g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 18g Cholesterol: 200mg Sodium: 1230mg Carbohydrates: 79g Fiber: 8g Sugar: 13g Protein: 74g