For Thanksgiving I wanted to prepare a pork roast with pomegranate. I tried this excellent recipe with a few changes. It was a real delicacy, definitely a “must try again”. Here is my version of the recipe.
For the brine
2 cups plus 1.5 L cold water, divided
1/3 cup coarse salt
1/4 cup sugar
8 black peppercorns
8 juniper berries, crushed*
2 star anise
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon yellow (or black) mustard seeds
1 (2-lb.) boneless pork loin roast, rolled, tied
For the roast
3 garlic cloves
fresh rosemary or oregano
For the Pomegranate Sauce
1 large pomegranate or 2 small (or 1 cup 100% pomegranate juice)
2 Tbsp Cognac (or grappa)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Prepare the brine. Bring 2 cups of the water, and all the ingredients for the brine, to a boil in large pot over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve salt and sugar. Remove from heat; add the remaining 1.5 liters of water. Let it cool, stirring occasionally. Place the pork in the brine. (Pork should be completely covered by liquid.) Cover and refrigerate 12 to 24 hours.
Prepare the roast. Remove pork from brine; blot dry with paper towels. Discard brine. Clean the garlic cloves and cut them in 3 or 4 pieces lengthwise. Clean the rosemary and pat dry. With a small paring knife, pierce a few holes in the roast, about 1 inch deep. In each hole insert one piece of garlic and a few rosemary leaves.
Heat oven to 400°F. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat until hot. If you are using a layered stainless steal pan you may not need the oil. Cook pork 8 minutes or until browned on all sides. Start by placing the roast fat side down in the skillet. Place on rack in roasting pan. Discard oil from skillet; reserve skillet for sauce (do not clean).
Bake pork 45 to 55 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 145°F. Cover loosely with foil; let stand 20 minutes.
Slice and serve with the pomegranate sauce.
Prepare the pomegranate sauce. Clean the pomegranate and obtain the juice pressing the pomegranate seeds with a vegetable mill; add a bit of water. Preserve a few of the seeds whole, for decoration.
Add pomegranate juice to reserved skillet, stir in the cognac, and bring to a boil.
If you are using 100% juice, boil over medium heat until reduced to 1/2 cup.
Whisk 4 teaspoons of cold water and cornstarch in small bowl; whisk into sauce to blend. Cook until sauce thickens. Remove from heat; stir in vinegar and accumulated roasting juices.