Last weekend I played around with a couple of new cookbooks. This pork roast recipe came from Kitchen of Light by Andreas Viestad of the PBS cooking show of the same name. The cookbook is just as fun to read as it is to cook from so far so I'll be making more dishes from it soon.
One of the things I liked about this recipe is that the vodka based marinade seemed to more effectively carry the herb flavors into the center of the meat than other oil/acid marinade combinations I've used in the past. There was no taste of vodka or alcohol but the fresh herbs seemed brightened by the alcohol as a base.
There was a cute story attached to the recipe where Andreas said he made it for the show Scandinavian Cooking in Svalbard, an Arctic island north of Norway. He said that out of all their supplies to prepare the dish, the only thing that didn't freeze was the vodka. I'm thinking he's lucky he had any left for the recipe. I think in the Arctic I'd be downing the hooch to warm up.
The original recipe calls for a beef sirloin roast but I didn't have that. What I did have was a pork loin roast and it turned out lovely.
Recipe from Kitchen of Light by Andreas Viestad
4 lb boneless sirloin roast or beef tenderloin roast
1 Tbsp coarse sea salt
2 Tbsp crushed black peppercorns
3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp fine chopped fresh thyme
3 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
1/3 cup vodka
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
Rub the roast with the salt and pepper. Place it in a resealable plastic bag. Add the parsley, 2 tbsps of thyme, and the garlic and pour in the vodka and olive oil. Seal the bag and place it in a bowl in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days, turning the bag twice a day so the meat marinates evenly.
Let the meat stand at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours before cooking.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Take the meat out of the plastic bag; reserve the marinade. Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the vegetable oil and heat until hot. Sear the roast on all sides, about 4-6 minutes.
Transfer the meat to a baking pan. Roast in the middle of the oven, turning once, for 1 to 1 1/4 hours (25-30 minutes if using tenderloin) until the thermometer register 130 degrees for medium-rare. Before the roast is done, pour the reserved marinade over it. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let it rest, uncovered, for at least 20 minutes. Set the baking dish aside.
Just before serving,pour the cooking juices into a saucepan and heat gently. Stir in the butter. Season with salt and pepper and the remaining thyme. Strain the sauce and discard the herbs.
Carve the meat and arrange on a platter with the sauce on the side.
Now. Here's how I actually did it:
I followed the marinade and searing directions. Instead of roasting in the oven, I placed the roast, a cup of water, and the marinade in the crock-pot all at the same time and crocked it for 2 hours on high and then 6 hours on low, turning the roast once in the middle.
I removed the roast and placed it into the lipped platter I was going to serve it in and covered it in a couple of layers of foil. The point of letting the meat "rest" is so all the juices will redistribute back into the meat so that when you cut it all of the juiciness stays where it should instead of running out all of the cutting board. In the case, at the end, it was more the consistency of pulled pork, that we like, so that all we really did was pull it apart in hunks and enjoyed.
I looked at the drippings left into the pot and decided that instead of a sauce, a pot of meat juices, fresh herbs, and garlic was a cry for pasta, so I added 2 cups of water and a 12 oz of egg noodles. The liquid just covered the egg noodles. I turned the crock back to high and 30 minutes later we had herby wonderful pasta to go wit the roast.
As an aside, I doubt this is "good" drinking vodka since it was pretty cheap but the fact that it's imported from Sweden made it seem appropriate to me for this recipe.
As another aside, the leftover roast made excellent sandwiches!