The first post for this week is something very near to my heart–A Cajun-spiced Roasted Pork Loin supplied by Rhett’s mother Beth and his grandmother, “Nanee.”
A couple of weekends ago, we spent one busy Sunday afternoon (about 6 hours to be exact) cooking with his family. The menu included some of Rhett’s favorite family recipes, and I learned a few things about the roasting of pork, the manufacturing of real Italian “macaroni,” and Cajun-Italian cooking. Everything from an unique take on baked macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole, homemade Peach Sorbet, and this “Dragon’s Tongue” pork dish occupied Nanee’s over-sized kitchen island as we buzzed around it chopping and calculating cooking times.
“Dragon’s Tongue” is one of Rhett’s family’s favorite dishes. It combines moist roasted pork loin with the Cajun Holy Trinity (onion, celery, green bell peppers) with a dark spicy paste that makes for an excellent topping. Originally a simple Cajun roasted Pork Loin by Paul Purdhomme, “Dragon’s Tongue” got its name from a cousin who thought it tasted fiery and looked like the tongue of a dragon.
Serve this dish with comfort foods like green bean casserole and macaroni and cheese (coming later this week), and see if you can find a better way to spend your Sunday afternoon.
“Dragon’s Tongue”: Cajun Spiced Pork Loin
Yield: 8 (8-ounce) or 12 (5.5-ounce) servings
Calories: 365.6 (12 servings) to 548.5 (8 servings; full nutritional info here)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours (see chef’s note at end)
This recipe is an adaptation of Paul Purdhomme’s Cajun Roasted Pork Loin that has been adjusted and improved upon by Rhett’s mother and grandmother for the past 20 or so years. For the original Purdhomme recipe, see another Cajun/Creole cook Terry’s post here.
*2 teaspoons black pepper
*1 teaspoon sweet paprika
*1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
*1 teaspoon white pepper (can substitute black pepper if you don’t have white)
*1 teaspoon dried thyme
*1 1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
*1 tablespoon garlic, minced or pressed
*3 tablespoons butter
*3 tablespoons cooking oil (vegetable or corn)
*1 cup onions, finely chopped
*1/2 cup bell peppers, chopped
*1/2 cup celery, chopped
*4 pound pork loin roast
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT NEEDED:
1.) Preheat oven to 375F. Prep ingredients: measure out spices–pepper, paprika, mustard, white pepper, thyme, salt, cayenne, and garlic. Whisk together and reserve as seasoning mix. Chop holy trinity–onions, bell peppers, and celery.
2.) In a non-stick pan, add butter and cooking oil and melt down over medium heat. Add seasoned holy trinity to oil and sauté for 5-10 minutes on low heat or until onions are translucent.
3.) Meanwhile, place pork loin in an oversized baking dish and make four incisions of 1 1/2 to 2-inches long across the top. Incisions should run about 1-inch deep.
4.) When seasoning mix is done cooking, stuff heaping tablespoons into the incisions and spread the rest over the top.Bake pork loin uncovered for 1 1/2-2 hours or until meat thermometer reads “170F.” Remove from oven, cool, and serve in length-wise cuts with juices from the pan as a sauce. Makes 8-12 servings.
COOK’S NOTE: for a guide on cooking times when roasting pork, see this chart here. Note that this chart calls for an internal temperature of “145F,” but I’ve suggested an internal temperature of “170F” for level of done-ness and personal preference. You can see a similar chart advocating “170F” here.
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Written by: Helana Brigman