Any follower of The Left Chapter's food related posts knows that I am a big fan of making a whole variety of different dishes in a clay baker. Clay bakers are terrific for slow cooking and producing very tender, flavourful mains. They are especially good to use when making chicken. Clay bakers also become more seasoned as you use them over the course of years.
For a basic introduction to clay baking you can refer to a post I did on a blog that was rolled over into The Left Chapter, The simple art of Clay Baking: Fast, easy & delicious.
Today is the first of a couple of posts dedicated to using your clay baker in ways that may not immediately spring to mind.
One dish that cooks really, really well in the clay baker, for example, is a peameal bacon roast.
Peameal bacon roasts, of course, are boneless, wet cured pork loin roasts that have been rolled in cornmeal. Once cooked and sliced they make terrific sandwiches. When done in a clay baker they come out spectacularly moist, and with the use of a simple technique you can also brown the roasts to give the cornmeal topping a very satisfying texture.
To begin, as always, soak both halves of the clay baker in water for 15-20 minutes.
Add your pork loin roast into the bottom of the baker and then add 1/4 cup of water. Here we made two roasts at once.
Put the lid on and place the baker into a COLD oven (you never put a clay baker into a preheated oven, it will crack). Turn the heat to 350 degrees and cook for 75 minutes.
After 75 minutes remove the lid of the clay baker and turn the heat up to 450 degrees. Let cook, open like this, for another approximately 30 minutes or until the top is nicely browned. (For the record, Health Canada recommends cooking pork until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees if you are at all concerned).
Remove the roast from the oven and then let sit for around 10 minutes prior to slicing. Discard any liquid left in the clay baker.
Slice to your liking. You will find that the slices are not simply more tender but are also more flavourful then when you do this using the more conventional oven roasted method or when done in a slow cooker.
Now, of course, the loin slices can be had with eggs, rice and salad, or with whatever you like. But they make amazing sandwiches.
Sliced, well prepared peameal bacon on a fresh bun with a tomato slice, some red onion and Dijon mustard is a treat that is very hard to beat!
This recipe was first posted on The Left Chapter blog, June 4, 2018.