Cook's Illustrated challenge: French-Style Pot-Roasted Pork

Carved and ready for consumption.

This is the saddest story you'll ever read about a pork loin roast.

Behold the deets:

The clock: It took me about an hour to prep all the ingredients, and then the roast spent another hour or so in the oven. Love that hands-off time!

The technique: The roast is "double butterflied" — that is, sliced open twice to unfold like a tri-fold piece of paper. Seasonings and whatnot are rubbed inside the roast, it's re-folded and tied with kitchen string, and then it's browned. The roast finishes in the oven at a low 225 degrees.

Seasonings and whatnot: Melted butter with bits of garlic, along with kosher salt and sugar, are spread inside the roast before it's tied up. NOM. The outside of the roast is sprinkled with pepper and herbes de Provence, which I had never used before. Herbes de Provence is savory and floral at the same time, and I'm looking for other recipe applications because the spice is so gosh-darn elegant. (You can quote me on that.)

The results: Hello, you gorgeous, full-flavored and moist pork loin. This was really, really good — better than I expected. The goal of the article was to produce a tender and juicy roast "from today's lean, bland pork loin." Mission accomplished. It was the garlic butter that really did it for me, but the herbes de Provence could make an argument, too.

The tragedy: I spent a good part of an afternoon working on the roast, and MVH and I planned to eat dinner after we put Paul to bed. In short, there was a lot of buildup to this meal. And once you take it out of the oven, it needs to rest for 20 minutes! The agony!

After the pork was appropriately rested, we served ourselves and tucked in for supper. And it was worth the wait. We anticipated that we would be taking pork seconds, but we were nervous about leaving the roast on the counter because our naughty cat (not the good one) likes to steal food. To prevent feline interference, we put the pork in the turned-off oven. (Do you see where this is going?)

The next night around dinnertime, we are psyched for pork leftovers. I cracked open the fridge. Why can't I find the giant chunk of meat I cooked yesterday? BECAUSE IT'S STILL IN THE OVEN. Guh. And we were sad. Very, very sad.

And it tasted even better! Gah!

I hate wasting food, and that stupid roast was time consuming. And it was so darn tasty. Argh!

But as much as we hate wasting food, we hate food poisoning more. So that was the end of the pork roast. We ordered pizza, sulked a little, and talked about how good that pork was.

Encore? Oh yeah! And next time, I won't forget about it!

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