Impromptu pork out

I'm cleaning out the kitchen in preparation for having the house tented for termites in a week or so. That means that there are all sorts of odds and ends to cook. Last night it was a happy convergence of a defrosted pork loin, some pork sausage, a sale package for Mrs. Cubbins stuffing mix, Brussels sprouts, a metric buttload of aging apples from our apple expedition and bacon.

This got turned into sage and anise seed encrusted roast pork loin. Use the remnants of some organic yellow mustard as a glue layer for the herb crust. Bruise the anise seeds before applying with tons of Albanian rubbed sage, sea salt, and pepper. I roasted mostly at high heat (arbitrarily, but justified (also arbitrarily and possibly incorrectly) by a need for speed and because these pork loins are very lean).

The sausage got browned, copious amounts of onions and celery were dispatched and clarified, more metric buttloads of sage were applied and many apples were sliced (skin on). The sausage pan was deglazed with Trader Joe's chicken stock (I'd made my recent chickens and turkeys into soup which we finished last night) to which I added some Penzy's "better than bouillon"-equivalent and the whole lot was mixed with the Mrs. Cubbins bread crumbs in a rectangular baking dish. (Really, why I buy the pre-made crouton mix is beyond me. I could have GREAT baguette croutons for probably less money and only a modicum of effort.) Correct seasoning and bake with the pork loin, covered, and then later, uncovered. I made similar stuffing under Mom's direction for Thanksgiving and I think that this one turned out far better. I don't know what the differences were.

The Brussels sprouts were steamed (not quite enough, but that means the leftovers will rewarm better) and then added to a pan in which I'd browned some apple-smoked bacon pieces until crisp. Marjoram (I was out of the preferred thyme and even sage by that point) topped it off, with some pepper. I also had some chopped garlic that I added as an afterthought. That was a brain fart. I wish I hadn't.

We drank sparkling cider with the meal. Pretty amazing impromptu effort for a Monday night. This is the second time I've impressed myself in the past month by pulling together some more complex meals than my usual weekday fare. Maybe I've turned a corner in my cooking prowess.

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