Monday, March 19, 2012

Tuscan-Inspired Pork Loin with Crispy Potatoes and LOTS of Garlic

This Tuscan-Inspired Pork Loin is a recipe I discovered back before I started blogging.  It happens to be one of the first insanely delicious meals that ever came out of my kitchen. I can't believe I've never posted it before.  This is easily one of our favorite meals.  

First I should warn you.  This recipe is definitely a meal for the garlic lover(s).  There are three cloves of garlic rubbed over the pork roast and then there is an entire head of garlic that roasts alongside the potatoes.  It's pure garlic heaven!  The result is the most wonderful and tender pork, but the star of this dish is really the potatoes.  Oh my gosh are these potatoes succulent and luscious (I totally stand over the pan and inhale a few before serving).  Er, did I just say that out loud?
Speaking of the potatoes, you will want to cram as many as you can into your pan.  Don't follow the recipe below, which tells you to use only 2 potatoes.  Instead, measure your pan and fit as many potatoes as your pan will hold.  Believe me.  I cram them in there each and every time and everyone still ends up fighting over them.


Tuscan-Inspired Pork Loin with Crispy Potatoes and LOTS of Garlic
Adapted from The Ultimate Cookbook by Bruce Weinstein & Mark Scarbrough
Serves 6

2 large baking potatoes (use as many potatoes as will fit your pan)
1 whole head of garlic, plus 3 garlic cloves
4 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary or sage
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon or 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
One 2 to 2-1/2 pound boneless center cut pork loin, trimmed
freshly ground black pepper

Take your pork loin out of the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature while doing prep work. 

Cut the potatoes into 2-inch pieces (you can peel them, but the skin will get crunchy as they roast.) Place in a large bowl and cover with water by 2 inches.  Set aside at room temperature for 20 minutes so the potatoes lose some starch.  See note above***:  Don't simply make this recipe as followed with only 2 potatoes.  You will end up wishing you made more of them.  Instead, squeeze as many potatoes as will fit in your pan.  I use a 10" cast iron skillet and I can fit about 1-1/2 pounds red baby potatoes.

Meanwhile, position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375F.  Mix 3 minced garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary or sage, 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon zest, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional), and salt in a large bowl; rub this mixture all over the tied pork loin.

Drain the potatoes and blot dry with paper towels.  Place in a 12 - 14-inch oven-safe skillet (preferably cast iron).  Pour the remaining 3 tablespoons oil over the potatoes and set over medium-heat.  

Once the potatoes start to sizzle, cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to turn translucent at their edges and brown a bit.  about 5 minutes.

Break up the garlic cloves from the whole head (do not peel) and sprinkle them among the potatoes; add the remaining rosemary or sage, sprinkling it among the potatoes.

Nestle the pork loin in the middle of the skillet.  Place in the oven and roast until the meat has browned, until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the center registers 155F, about 1 hour and 10 minutes, turning the loin once or twice and tossing the potatoes occasionally.  Grind some black pepper over the roast just before serving.

For A Pan Sauce:
Remove the pork from the roasting pan when done and toss the potatoes and garlic cloves before serving.  If you'd like to make a gravy, place cast-iron pan over medium heat, pour in 1/4 cup chicken broth or white wine, and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits in the pan.  Skim the sauce for any fat, then reduce by half, about 1 minute.
This recipe comes from The Ultimate Cookbook by Bruce Weinstein & Mark Scarbrough, which came out back in 2007.  It is more of a tome (the size of Mark Bittman's books) than a cookbook.  There are no pictures, but there are 900 recipes packed inside and I never get tired of browsing through this book for new ideas.


  1. Happy dance! I have pork loin in the freezer begging to be used. Perfect, perfect, perfect. Pinning!

  2. If there's one thing my mom cooked that I used to love, its crispy potatoes. And i've never been able to reproduce them! Obviously I need to try these.

  3. This sounds delicious and your photos make this very appealing. Have a great day. Blessing...Mary

  4. This speaks to me on so many levels! The potatoes and the garlic. . . we'd be fighting for them over here too!

  5. I can do lots of garlic and potatoes anyday. Garlic is mellow when its roasted. This looks delicious kIm.


  6. Oh boy does this look mouth-watering. Bring on the garlic! And I have been going through a big potato phase lately--the crispier the better. ;-) Mmm...

  7. Mmmmm... garlic. Double mmmmm.... crispy potatoes. And then the Pork Chop for the meat-lovers. It is the ultimate!

  8. I adore potatoes. Garlic, yes. Love these meal. A lot. i'm so making it!

  9. Can't get too garlicky for me...look amazing!

  10. What a fabulous meal. I love garlic and everything else that you've put in the pot. I'll wager this was delicious. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  11. This looks sooo good. I'll give it a try this weekend for my family when they all come over to visit.


    Grandma Kat

  12. With all that garlic, I know I would love this dish, especially the potatoes. Great tip about adding more potatoes; two would definitely not be enough for my family:)

  13. Anything with all that garlic HAS TO BE GOOOOD!

  14. Do you also preheat the skillet along with the oven before switching to stove top to brown the potatoes?

    Sounds like a great recipe, Kim!

    1. Chris- I haven't tried preheating the skillet in the oven before, but that's a great idea! Thanks.

  15. The more garlic the better for this family's tastebuds! A darn good herb basted pork roast with garlic roast potatoes is the ultimate Italian family comfort food that we adore!!!

  16. Looks so yummy! We are going to make this tonight. Why do you leave the garlic skins on?


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