Cooking instructor (and SacMag Diva) Paulette Bruce has started offering her cooking classes at Taylor’s Kitchen, the new Land Park restaurant next door to Taylor’s Market. I recently took her pork class—the brainchild of local pig farmer John Bledsoe, who told Bruce she should teach a class on how to cook the new, leaner varieties of swine. The Sunday-morning class was a regular pork-a-palooza: We made pork braised in Riesling with apple-quince compote, pork chops with braised fennel and lentils, lemon-salt-marinated pork tenderloin and herb-roasted pork loin with haricots verts, spring onions and mustard breadcrumbs. After we cooked, we ate. It was a little weird to eat all that pork before noon, but we somehow managed.
In the coming months, Bruce will teach classes on making fresh pasta, salads, and mains and sides. For more information, go to goodeatscookingclasses.com.
Here’s my favorite recipe from Bruce’s pork class:
Herb-roasted Pork Loin
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon thyme leaves, plus 6 sprigs
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
10 garlic cloves, smashed
3 pounds center-cut pork loin
3 sprigs rosemary, broken into 3-inch pieces
3 sprigs sage
1/4 cup chicken stock or water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced
Whisk together the mustard, thyme leaves, parsley and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a shallow baking dish. Stir in the garlic and slather the pork with the mixture. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Take the pork out of the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking to bring it to room temperature. After 30 minutes, season the pork generously with salt and pepper. Reserve the marinade.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Heat a large sauté pan over high heat for 3 minutes. Swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and wait a minute or two, until the pan is very hot, almost smoking. Place the pork loin in the pan and sear it on all sides until well browned and caramelized. Don’t turn or move the pork too quickly or all the mustard will be left in the pan and not on the pork. Be patient: This searing process takes 15 to 20 minutes.
Transfer the pork loin to a roasting rack and slather the reserved marinade over the meat. Arrange the rosemary, sage and thyme sprigs on the roast and top with 3 tablespoons butter.
Roast the pork in the oven until a thermometer inserted into the center reads 140 degrees, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove from oven and let the pork rest at least 10 to 15 minutes.
While the pork is roasting, return the pork-searing pan to the stove over medium-high heat. Wait 1 to 2 minutes and then deglaze it with the chicken stock or water. Bring to a boil, whisking and scraping the bottom of the pan to release the crispy bits. Swirl in 3 tablespoons butter.
Slice the pork about 1/4-inch thick. Place on a platter and top with the sauce.