If you’re anything like me, you grew up hating brussels sprouts and rightfully so. Having to choke down boiled or steamed tasteless balls of cabbage is a memory we’d all like to repress. Seriously, there is no amount of ranch dressing that will cover up that nastiness. You may also remember dry pork chops that resembled rice cakes or the sahara desert in your mouth.
But guess what, it’s not your fault. This is one of those memories you can blame your parents for and every child in America would stand in your defense.
Honey Mustard Brussels Sprouts
These roasted brussels sprouts are deceptively delicious and nothing like the boiled version you had as a child. The honey mustard adds a tarty sweetness, the pepper a bit of a kick, and the char from the roasting a depth of flavor that will have your taste buds asking for more.
One pack fresh Brussels Sprouts- you can buy them frozen but grab the fresh if you can. Obviously, if you buy two packs double the following.
1/2 cup mustard (Spicy or regular). HINT: Organic mustard has a much better flavor than the classic Frenchs version and the 360 Whole Foods brand isn’t expensive.
1/4 cup honey
Freshly ground or pre-ground pepper– This is a preference but I used a lot. Freshly ground will have more flavor and the rough cut adds a little texture.
1 Tbls garlic– This is also a preference thing. I used minced garlic but if you only have fresh, I’d go with 1-2 gloves. You can also use garlic powder, just be careful of the amount.
1 Tsp Salt (Kosher)
HINT: You can buy pre-made honey mustard dressing but I find it has that manufactured taste and you lose the freshness of making it yourself. If you go with pre-made dressing, add the pepper, garlic, salt and a little more honey.
Pre-heat oven to 350 (this will be the same temp as the pork)
Start off by combining the above ingredients (minus the sprouts) and set aside. Next, boil the sprouts for 5-10 minutes. The boiling time depends on how long you plan on roasting and how soft or firm you like them. Once boiled, drain sprouts and add to honey mustard mixture. (You can now cut sprouts in half but this is not a necessity). Place sprouts in single row on oven safe pan.
You’ll have plenty of left over marinade which you can use as a dipping sauce later. Depending on time allowed, you can treat this as a marinade or a quick dressing before roasting.
The pork will roast at 350 for 20-30 minutes, so you can wait to roast the two together or roast them separate.
House Seasoned Pork
I’ve been roasting pork loins for several years now and have the cooking and my house seasoning down to a near science. Unfortunately, pork can be easily overcooked and under seasoned. Most people think pork must be cooked medium or higher, thus leaving the pig dry and tasteless. But new cooking regs show pork can be consumed at medium rare to medium, which the lower temp prevents over cooking and drying out. I cook my pork loin (dark or white) to an internal temp of 135, resting for 3-5 minutes, allowing the internal temp to then rise to 145. Anything above 150 and you’ll be left with a hockey puck and not tender pork.
NOTE: No one in my house has ever gotten sick by eating pork cooked to medium rare. Just saying.
I don’t have an exact measurement for each ingredient since the size of your loin is unknown to me but I’ve listed them from most to least in volume. Once you’ve combined all the ingredients, taste the seasoning and check for saltiness. It should be salty but not too salty and the lemon pepper flavor should be obvious. The ability to tell the difference is an acquired skill that takes trial and error to avoid. If you’ve over salted, continue to add ingredients from pepper to cayenne or add a tsp or brown sugar till evened out .
Equal parts Salt and Pepper
Lemon Pepper- Adds a citrus flavor and sweetness
Equal parts chili, cumin, paprika powder
Fill large freezer bag or container half full of room temp (not hot) water. Pour in cup of salt, sugar and a cup of the above seasoning. Place pork in bag/container and let sit in fridge for at least four to six hours, rotating pork ever so often. The pork should be completely covered by water. Again, the time of brining depends on the size/thickness of your loin.
Before cooking, remove pork from brine, pat dry, and follow dry rub method (minus the four hour marinade)
Dry rub method
Combine ingredients. Coat pork loin in olive oil and then liberally sprinkle seasoning over pork, rubbing until completely covered. Cover and allow the seasoning to sit on the pork for at least four hours.
Note: If time is an issue, skip the four hour marinade or brine and go straight to cooking.
Pre-heat large skillet to medium-medium high heat. Add tbls of olive oil. After olive oil coats the pan and begins to smoke, sear off the meat on all sides, 3-4 minutes per side. If the loin is too large to fit in pan, cut in half.
Place seared meat on oven safe tray (doesn’t have to be a roasting pan), along with brussels sprouts, and cook pork till internal temp reaches 135 degrees. Cook time depends on thickness of loin, but expect 10-25 minutes.
Remove pork from oven, set oven to high broil, place pork on cooling tray, cover loosely (like a tent) with foil, and allow to rest for 3-5 minutes.
Place sprouts on highest oven rack and broil till all sides are blackened (but not burnt). DO NOT WALK AWAY FROM SPROUTS. High broil cooks at about 550 degrees and will ruin your food in a heartbeat. This should only take a few minutes anyways, so stay by the oven.
Cut pork into medallions and serve sprouts pipping hot with left over honey marinade as a dipping sauce.