Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos make a fine pork chop, but in this recipe from their new cookbook, Extra Virgin: Recipes and Love from our Tuscan Kitchen, it's the sauce that's the star. The loin itself gets browned with rosemary, sage, and garlic cloves, before it's essentially steamed stove-top in white wine. Then, while the meat rests, you make a quick pan sauce, simply cooking down the liquid in the pot with milk until it's just slightly creamy. Since it's neither a starch-thickened gravy nor finished with butter, as so many pan sauces are, it doesn't feel heavy. Instead, the sauce is perky and rich at the same time, with substantial bits of herbs and garlic that have mellowed and bloomed from all that time over the heat. It's rustic and drinkable—literally.
Comparatively, the pork itself is a bit of a let down. I think the meat would have been better served by good old oven-roasting; the time spent steaming in the partially covered pot didn't do it any favors. The meat was a bit tight and dry, though not offensively tough. But doused in the sauce, I ate it up happily all the same.
Why I picked this recipe: The internet is chock-full of rosemary- and garlic-roasted pork loins, but I was curious about the stove-top treatment that the pork gets here.
What worked: The sauce, big time.
What didn't: I don't love what the cooking method did to the meat, and I'd recommend instead roasting it in the oven. Also, the cooking times were somewhat off in this recipe. The authors say to cook the herbs and garlic for four to five minutes, but it only took around two for them to turn crispy. Then, when I put the pork loin on top of the herbs as directed, they instantly fused with the meat—not a terrible thing, but it did prevent an even sear. And cooking two sides of the roast for five minutes each, per the recipe, definitely didn't happen. It only took about two minutes per side to get a good, deep brown crust. Instead, I'd use those 10 minutes to sear the roast all the way around. Finally, I felt the need to remove the rosemary stems and garlic skins before making the sauce.
Suggested tweaks: If I were to do this again, I'd cook the herbs and garlic, and follow Kenji's reverse-sear method for perfect pan-seared pork chops...and maybe serve that sauce in a pint glass with a straw.
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 12 fresh sage leaves
- 2 1/2 pounds pork loin
- 1 cup dry white wine
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup whole milk
In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the garlic, rosemary, and sage and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until the herbs start to crisp. Add the pork loin, laying it on top of the herbs, and cook for 5 minutes. Turn it over and cook the other side for 5 minutes. Add the wine to the Dutch oven, using a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits from the bottom. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the scent of alcohol has disappeared.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, season with salt and pepper to taste, and partially cover with the lid. Cook for about 1 hour, turning the meat and scraping the bottom of the pot every 15 to 20 minutes. If the sauce reduces too much, add warm water in small increments, 1⁄4 cup at a time. Remove the pot from the heat and place the pork loin on a cutting board to rest for 30 minutes.
When the sauce in the Dutch oven has cooled, add the milk and cook, stirring constantly to prevent curds from forming, over medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the sauce is lightly creamy, but not thick. Thinly slice the pork loin and serve with the sauce poured on top.