Bourbon with everything! Roast pork loin with mint julep glaze.

Before we begin: A hearty apology to everyone who has emailed us over the last months and received no response. It’s not that we don’t love you, it’s that our webmaster (*cough*shiv*cough*) is kind of an idiot and locked us out of the mailbox without realizing it. Or wondering why the mail forwarding wasn’t working. Anyway, it’s working now, so if you want to send us love letters or hate mail, they’ll actually get through. Sorry about that, dearie ducks!

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to reveal to you all that I typically have little to no use for mint. Seriously. I find myself buying it occasionally—because there are a few recipes I love that can’t happen without it—but I invariably end up using only a small amount, forgetting I have it, and then finding it, months later, growing new life forms in the back of the fridge. It is, I’m sure you can imagine, profoundly disgusting. So this past weekend, when I found myself the slightly perturbed owner of a bunch of mint (I had a sick craving for my coconut-basil udon noodles that would not be denied), I was determined to avoid that fate. I was going to use the flippin’ mint if it was the last thing I did!julep-pork-1

Fortunately, using it up did not turn out to be quite the hardship I’d envisioned, mainly because I’d had the presence of mind to go through my Big File O Recipe Clippings on Saturday afternoon, where I found a recipe for pork chops with mint julep glaze. The recipe caught my eye for two reasons: First, I appear to be on a slightly ridiculous pork kick, and second, I will happily use bourbon in any and all foodstuffs. Combine those two characteristics with the fact that it was a convenient way to get rid of the offending mint? Lo, there was a happy Shiv in the house.

julep-pork-2

Of course, nothing ever goes quite as smoothly as you’d think: it turns out that I do not have a natural affinity for glazes (I have trouble getting it to the right consistency–too impatient, I daresay), and by some random and terrible confluence of events, I didn’t have any bourbon readily available, so I had to do a bit of scrounging. But, it was a treat nonetheless and worth the hassle created by my poor planning. I actually ended up substituting a nice lean pork roast for the chops (it was on special!), and I think it was a good choice–a bit of brine and a good spice rub made the meat tender and moist, and a wonderful, savory foil for the sweet glaze. I’m sure it’s equally lovely with chops. I’d say the key is the spice rub–don’t pussyfoot around that business. I mean, you’re already spiking your meal with whiskey; why back down on any of it?

Pork Roast in Mint Julep Glaze

Cribbed from Bon Appetit circa I can’t remember.

1 pork loin roast (2.5-3.5 lbs)
equal parts cinnamon and cloves
salt
Olive oil

For the glaze:

1/2 c chicken broth
6 tbsp bourbon, separated
1 tbsp packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp cider vinegar
1/4c chopped mint

  1. Preheat your oven to 450. Smear the pork on all sides with olive oil, then season heavily with salt, pepper, cinnamon, and cloves. Cover every inch of the pork, and really rub it in.
  2. Place the pork on a rack in a roasting pan, fat-side-up, and roast ten minutes. Then, drop the oven temp to 250. Cook for 50-80 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the meat is 150 degrees. Remove from pan, cover loosely and set aside while you make your glaze. Do not wash your roasting pan yet–you’ll be using the drippings and goodness in the glaze.
  3. For the glaze: combine broth, vinegar, sugar, and 3 tbsp of bourbon in bowl; mix until the sugar has dissolved. Use this mixture to deglaze your roasting pan–I put the pan on the stove over medium heat while I did this.  Once you’ve scraped all the goodness from the pan (and if your roast was lean, there won’t be too much), decant the liquid into a small saucepan and boil it until it coats the back of a spoon. Remove your roasting pan from the heat at this point.
  4. Finish the glaze with the mint and the remaining bourbon–add both, continue to boil for ten seconds, and then turn off the heat.
  5. Slice, arrange, and sauce. Serve with some sort of delicious green thing.
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