How do you do so much hosting with a new baby? That’s a question I’ve been getting a lot these days. The answer is mostly that Toby is a super-pleasant, super-easy baby…and there is only one of him. Turn Toby into a toddler or add another baby into the mix, and having friends over will most likely mean ordering a lot more pizza.
Until then, I’ll keep cooking as much as I can, although most of what I cook are dishes that don’t require a lot of time in the kitchen. Like the Baked Pesto Tortellini dish I cooked for Chris’ office Christmas party. And like the Herb-Crusted Pork loin I served along with it.
Yes, that is the best photo I could get. I had 16 hungry guests and a baby in my arms as I was trying to take that picture. I promise to step up my photo game in future posts. For now, I’m just happy I’ve gotten two recipes in two weeks up on the blog. Baby steps.
Anyhow, I’ve been making this for years when I have company, because I love a dish that I can prep the night before (or morning of) and put in the oven before guests arrive, leaving me free to host and chat and just be fully present to everyone. Usually, I serve it with garlic-roasted potatoes (made earlier in the day, then kept warm in the crockpot), and either roasted Brussels sprouts or a salad. It paired nicely with the tortellini, though, so I may keep that in mind for future parties.
Either way, it’s great for guests who have to eat gluten-free for any reason. It’s also great for moms who don’t have babies quite as cooperative as Toby, for cooks who are away from home all day and don’t have time for intensive dinner prep before guests start arriving, and for families that need to keep the grocery budget down (pork loin is CHEAP…especially when you buy it from Aldi).
So, in sum: crazy easy, crazy cheap, crazy good. Enjoy!
Herb-Crusted Pork Loin: Serves 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes active; 8-24 hours inactive
Cook Time: approximately 1 hour
- 3 lb pork loin
- 4-5 large sprigs of Rosemary
- 8 garlic cloves
- Lemon-Pepper in grinder (I use this one from Trader Joe’s)
- .5 tsp Kosher salt
- .25 pepper (preferably from whole peppercorns in grinder)
- 2 Tbs. Olive oil
- Mince Rosemary and Garlic; combine in a small dish with salt and pepper;
- Butterfly pork loin (slicing it, through the middle, so it opens like a book);
- Rub half of herb mixture across the inside of the pork;
- Grind the lemon-pepper across the inside of the pork (I do about 12-15 turns of the grinder);
- “Close” the loin and tie with kitchen string at the ends and in the middle;
- Spread the remaining rub across the exterior top of the roast; grind more lemon-pepper across the top (another 10-12 turns); drizzle with olive oil;
- Wrap in plastic or parchment paper and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight;
- When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Roast in a roasting pan (or wonky substitute like mine pictured below) for approximately one hour or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees ( no more or your pork will be dry).
- Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes; slice and serve.
An Extra Visual
For those of you who don’t butterfly pork often, here’s what the dish should look like before it goes in the oven. Note: I don’t have a roasting pan and rack, so I used a large baking dish and gave the meat some venting room by cooking it on top of sliced potatoes. Carrots or celery sticks can serve the same purpose in a pinch. Yes. I am a kitchen Macgyver.