In the dead of winter, while hibernating bears are dreaming about sweet, tangy huckleberries, we humans can employ our opposable thumbs and larger cranial capacity to walk down the basement steps, open the freezer door, pull out a frozen tub of huckleberry sauce, and turn a simple pork loin into something a whole lot more special. We can even multi-task, roasting the loin and warming the sauce while watching the Academy Awards on TV. That is, if we used that extra brain-power to think ahead and make a large batch of the sauce in summer.
Huckleberry sauce is a good thing to keep around. I have containers of it in various sizes in my freezer. A small 4-ouncer is easily enough to feed two, and once defrosted it can be spiced up however you want. Click here for the huckleberry sauce recipe (you can substitute store-bought blueberries if necessary).
You’ll find versions of this pork loin recipe online, but there are a couple extra steps that I follow to make it extra delicious. For one thing, I like to add a tablespoon or more of orange zest to my standard huckleberry sauce. Also, I use the usual woodsy herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme) as well as oregano, parsley, and basil. The fresh basil, in particular, works with the orange zest to brighten the huckleberry sauce with a slightly more tropical zing. If you don’t have all these fresh herbs on hand, make do with what you’ve got (but the more the better, in my opinion). Finally, a quick de-glaze of the skillet with red wine will extract every last bit of the herbal flavor.
1 lb pork loin
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp fresh sage, chopped
1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp salt
orange for zest and garnish
1. Combine fresh chopped herbs with salt and pepper on a plate.
2. Slather pork loin with 1 tbsp oil and roll in herb mixture until fully coated. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
3. Pre-heat oven to 400 degree. Heat remaining oil in skillet and brown pork loin. Turn meat carefully. Move pork loin to roasting pan and de-glaze skillet with a splash of red wine; pour over meat. Put in oven for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on taste.
4. Remove from oven and allow to rest 10 minutes. Slice and arrange over bed of grain (rice pilaf in this case). Drizzle generously with huckleberry sauce and garnish with sliced oranges.
A Pinot Noir will drink nicely with the herb-pork-huckleberry trifecta. Now do your best Yogi Bear impression. “Hey Boo Boo!” Accept Oscar. Serves 2.