Cider Brined Pork Roast with Apples, Onions, & Dried Plums
· 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
· 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
· 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
· 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
· 1 cup kosher salt + more, to taste
· 2 sprigs + 6 sprigs thyme leaves
· 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, freshly ground + more, to taste
· 2 cups water
· 1 qt apple cider, unfiltered
· 2 cups ice
· 4 to 5 lbs boneless pork loin roast, tied with kitchen twine
· 4 gala apples, seeded and quartered
· 3 medium red or yellow onions, quartered, stem ends intact
· 1 cup dried plums
· 4 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon olive oil
Blend caraway, cumin, and fennel seeds together in a small bowl.
Bring brown sugar, 1 cup salt, 2 sprigs thyme, 1 tablespoon seed mixture, 1 teaspoon peppercorns, and 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar and salt dissolve. This will take about 4 minutes.
Transfer brine to a large bowl and add cider and 2 cups ice. Let cool.
Place pork and brine in a 2 gallon, re-sealable plastic bag.
Seal bag and chill at least 8 hours.
Remove pork from brine and pat dry. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 425°F, and place rack in lower third of oven.
Toss apples, onions, and plums with 4 tablespoons olive oil in a large roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, and set aside.
Using a mortar and pestle, coarsely grind the remaining seed mixture.
Season pork with salt and pepper and rub all over with the ground seeds.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium- high heat.
Cook pork until browned on all sides. This will take about 8–10 minutes.
Transfer pork to a roasting pan and nestle in among apples, onions, and dried plums.
Tuck remaining 6 sprigs of thyme under kitchen twine over top of pork.
Roast, turning fruits and vegetables halfway through, until a meat thermometer inserted in the center of pork registers 140°F. This will take about 60–75 minutes.
Transfer pork to a cutting board. Let rest 30 minutes before slicing into medallions.
Photography by Linda Pugliese, Food and Styling by Carlo Geraci