Wednesday, December 23, 2009

From Pork Roast Comes Delicious Banh Mi

From the Boston Globe -- December 23, 2009

Roasting, wrote the great American cook James Beard, is one of the most spectacular forms of cooking. As luck would have it, an ordinary home oven does a pretty wonderful job of roasting. Perhaps that’s why a roast was the traditional centerpiece of the midday Sunday dinner for so long. It’s still a good choice for the celebration table. Pork loin, a popular cut sold on and off the bone (boneless is easier to handle when it’s time to carve) has a reputation for being dry and a little bland after roasting. No doubt the classic accompaniments of applesauce and gravy were intended to mask that. We rub the meat with soy sauce and salt and let it sit for half an hour (or half a day). That gives color to the finished pork and lends a good flavor to the next day’s Asian recipes. During roasting, brush the meat with a honey and jalapeno glaze.

The next day, turn the pork into a tasty Vietnamese banh mi. These sandwiches, made on French baguettes, began as street food and have developed a cult-like following. Begin with an Asian dipping sauce; mix a few tablespoons of the sauce into mayonnaise and use this dressing with cucumbers, carrot matchsticks, and lots of chilies to layer with thinly sliced pork in crusty loaves. Then sprinkle with chopped peanuts and garnish with fresh cilantro. From Main Street to Saigon all in one roast.

Glazed Pork Roast

Serves 4 with leftovers

1 boneless pork loin (about 4 pounds)
1/4 cup soy sauce
Salt and black pepper, to taste
3/4 cup honey
1 jalapeno or other small chili pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
1/4 cup spicy mustard
1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1. Rub the meat with soy sauce and sprinkle with salt. Set in a dish large enough to hold it. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to several hours.
2. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Have on hand a roasting pan and rack.
3. Line the pan with foil. Place the rack in the lined pan. Set the meat, fat side up, on the rack. Sprinkle with black pepper.
4. In a saucepan, combine the honey, jalapeno, or chili pepper, mustard, and garlic. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Brush the meat with the honey mixture. Roast the meat for 1 hour, brushing with the honey mixture every 15 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the meat reaches 140 degrees.
5. Turn the oven temperature up to 450 degrees. Glaze the meat again, and roast for 5 minutes. The glaze should be crispy and dark brown.
6. Set the meat in a warm place; the internal temperature will rise to 145 degrees. Cut into thick slices.

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