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Chef Ben’s maple cider brined pork loin

Try your hand at making this specialty dish from Perimeter’s Black Hole Bistro.

Ontario Pork is some of the most delicious in the world. If you can get heritage-breed pork such as Berkshire or Tamworth from a local butcher or farmers’ market, this recipe will really shine.

Ben Uniac
Black Hole Bistro Head Chef Ben Uniac.

INGREDIENTS
½ pork loin (approx. 2.5–3 lbs)
1 cup maple syrup
2 litres + 1 cup apple cider
4 litres ice
1 cup sea salt
1 sprig rosemary
5 juniper berries
Crushed chilies to taste
2 tablespoons sunflower or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons cold butter

In a large saucepan, bring the maple syrup, cider, salt, rosemary, juniper berries, and chilies to a boil. Transfer the liquid to a very large pot or bowl. Add 4 litres of ice directly to the mixture to cool the brine.

Once the brine is cool, place the liquid and the loin in an extra-large, re-closable freezer bag. Completely submerge the loin in the brine, force all the air out of the bag and seal. Place the bag in the refrigerator for 12-36 hours.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the loin from the brine and pat dry. Heat a cast iron pan on medium heat on the stovetop, adding sunflower or vegetable oil. Once the pan is hot, sear the loin on all sides and both ends.

Once the searing is complete, place the loin in a roasting pan and put in the oven until the internal temperature of the loin reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

While the pork is cooking, deglaze the cast iron pan with a wooden spoon and 1 cup of cider. Simmer to reduce the cider by half its original volume. When the liquid is reduced, remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, one tablespoon at a time, to thicken the sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the loin from the oven and cover with foil. Allow it to rest for 20 minutes. Slice thin and serve with sauce and your favourite sides.

Ben Uniac is the Black Hole Bistro Head Chef at Perimeter Institute.

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