Recipe: “Engagement” Herb & Garlic Pork

I’ve shared this story with many of you before, but in honor of it being five (FIVE!?!) years almost to the day that Chris and I got engaged, I thought why not share again….

Anyone who is a fan of Ina Garten (like me!) knows that she has a recipe which she calls ‘Engagement Roast Chicken’.  The story, according to Ina (and Wikipedia), goes that back in 1982, an editor at Glamour magazine named Kim Bonnell shared her recipe for roasted chicken with a co-worker who was planning to make dinner for her boyfriend. She made the chicken, and very soon afterwards, the couple got engaged!  The recipe began making the rounds in the office, and three other women in the office were offered marriage proposals soon after making the dish for their boyfriends.

Glamour published the recipe in 2003 and began getting letters from all over the country from women claiming that their boyfriends proposed shortly after being served the dish.  Believe it or not, Glamour claims that 70 couples have gotten married after the women served their boyfriends the dish.

Five years ago, almost to the day…. Chris proposed to me on a sunny afternoon while we were in New York City.  I’d like to make this the best-post-ever and say that the night before I cooked him roasted chicken….but alas, I did not.  Instead, I made what is now one of Chris’ favorite meals: Herb & Garlic Crusted Pork.  In the time since, I’ve made it for him again on several other special occasions (birthdays, holidays, etc) but no matter the holiday, we always refer to it lovingly as “Engagement Herb & Garlic Pork”.

Herb and Garlic Pork.jpg
Photo Credit: Better Homes & Gardens

It’s beyond delicious which is no shocker considering it’s pork covered in bacon, butter, herbs and breadcrumbs. No promises if it will have the same romantic results for everyone else – but you never know!!

Oh, and don’t worry…I did make Chris an engagement roasted chicken AFTER he popped the question.

Herb and Garlic Crusted Pork Roast
Serves 6

8 cups cold water
½ cup kosher salt
¼ cup brown sugar
1 center cut, boneless pork loin, approximately 3 to 3-½ pounds
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 slices thick-sliced bacon, cut in 1-inch pieces (uncooked)
2 tablespoon apricot preserves
4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh garlic
2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ cups fresh bread crumbs
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons butter, melted

For brine, in a very large bowl dissolve salt and sugar in 8 cups cold water. Transfer pork to brine, making sure to submerge it fully. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or up to 2 days.

Remove loin from brine and blot dry with paper towels. In a nonstick skillet heat oil, then brown roast on all sides, about 10 minutes. Set aside for 5 to 30 minutes to cool slightly.

In a food processor puree uncooked bacon to a smooth paste. Transfer bacon to a bowl and stir in apricot preserves, chopped garlic, and 4 teaspoons of the chopped rosemary.

Position oven rack in lowest position. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place cooled pork loin on waxed paper. Spread with bacon mixture. In a separate bowl combine the bread crumbs, parsley, remaining rosemary, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, a few grinds of black pepper, and the melted butter. Toss well to mix. Press an even layer of the crumb mixture on the roast (except the ends), applying enough pressure for the crumbs to adhere to the bacon layer.

Transfer roast to a wire rack in a foil lined baking pan or roasting pan. Roast for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Roast for 45 minutes more or until an instant read thermometer registers 145 degrees F. (If crust begins to brown too deeply, tent roast with foil.)

Remove roast from oven, tent with foil, and allow to rest for 15 minutes in a warm place. Temperature of roast will rise approximately 10 degrees F as it stands.

Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens

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