Roasted Loin of Pork with Braised Red Cabbage and Port Wine Sauce

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

For a big, wintry dinner, a properly brined pork roast can rival the most tender, juicy prime rib of beef. Brined pork will come out more tender, juicy, and flavorful when cooked because the brine causes a change in the meat protein that makes it retain more moisture.

  • Port Wine Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce)
  • unsalted butter
  • 2 large shallots, trimmed,
  • peeled, and chopped (2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup ruby port
  • 1 cup Brown Veal Stock


  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 whole allspice, cracked
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 center-cut pork loin, rib bones left in (2 1/2 to 3 pounds)
  • 1 head (1 pound) red cabbage, cored, split and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 large onion (12 ounces), peeled and cut into1/2-inch-thick round slices
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and chopped(1 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 8 fresh sage leaves, chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers

The Brown Veal Stock
Combine 2 quarts of water, 1/3 cup kosher salt, sugar, peppercorns, thyme, cloves, allspice, and bay leaf in a large stockpot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the stockpot from the heat, transfer the brine to a large mixing bowl, allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours. When the brine is thoroughly chilled, add the pork loin, ensuring that it is completely immersed, and refrigerate, covered, for between 2 and 3 days. When ready to roast, remove the meat from the brine, and dry with kitchen towels.

In a large stockpot, bring approximately 4 quarts of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of kosher salt.

Fill a large mixing bowl with ice water. Using a fine-mesh, stainless-steel strainer. Blanch the red cabbage for about 30 seconds in the large stockpot of boiling water. (This will help the cabbage retain its color.) After blanching, plunge the strainer containing the cabbage in the ice water for about 30 seconds. Dry the cabbage with a kitchen towel and reserve.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Season the pork lightly with black pepper. It has enough already. In a large cast-iron skillet, over medium-high heat, brown the pork loin on all sides, about 10 to 15 minutes. When properly browned, remove the pork loin to a platter and reserve.

Distribute the onion slices on the bottom of the cast-iron skillet and place the browned pork loin on top. Transfer to the oven and roast until the internal temperature of the pork is 150 degrees, about 20 to 25 minutes.

While the pork is roasting, prepare the Port Wine Sauce. In a small saucepan, over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Sé the shallots until wilted, about 5 minutes. Pour in 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and cook until completely absorbed, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the port and cook until 1/2 cup remains, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the stock and cook until the sauce begins to thicken, about 5 to 10 minutes. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh, stainless-steel strainer into a double boiler and keep warm.

Remove the cast-iron skillet from the oven, transfer the pork loin from the skillet to a platter and let it rest in a warm spot. Using a stainless-steel spatula, scrape the bottom of the skillet to loosen any browned particles. Remove an of the onions that are burned. Sé the remaining onions over medium heat until caramelized, about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and reserve.

In a large sé pan, over high heat, preheat the vegetable oil. Add the garlic and blanched cabbage. Sé until the cabbage is thoroughly heated through, but still crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and the caramelized onions from the cast-iron skillet, stir briefly, add the sage and capers, and season with kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

To serve, cut the pork loin into 1/2-inch-to-2-inch-thick slices with one bone in each slice. Place the cooked cabbage on a large warm platter. Arrange the slices of pork on the cabbage, ladle the sauce over, and serve immediately.

Recipe from Mark Peel & Nancy Silverton's The Food of Campanile
© 1997 by Mark Peel & Nancy Silverton. All rights reserved