Maple Pork Loin with Fennel and Apples
Servings: 6 to 8
Brining helps season meats and poultry, and also keeps them moist while cooking. You need to begin this recipe a day ahead of time. Find maple sugar on the internet at www.maplelandfarms.com or substitute with brown sugar.
In a large pot, mix 2 cups of the cider and the salt, maple sugar, and thyme to dissolve, and then heat to boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining cider. Let cool. Submerge the pork into the brine, add the lid and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 16.
When ready to cook, heat the oven to 450 degrees. In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, mustard, thyme, pepper, and garlic. Drain the pork from the brine and wipe it down completely with paper towels. Brush all over with the maple mixture.
In a medium bowl, toss the apples with the fennel, pumpkin oil, and some black pepper. Place the apple mixture into the bottom of a large roasting pan coated with Teflon™ non-stick. Place the pork, fat side up over the apples and roast until the outer surface starts to brown. Then lower the heat to 375 degrees and continue cooking 30-50 minutes or until a meat thermometer reaches 145 degrees.
Let the roast rest 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with the apples and fennel. Garnish with sprig of fresh sage.