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The technique for adding more flavor to this pork roast is similar to larding, except that instead of fat, garlic and ground fennel seed are inserted into slits in the meat. Fennel is commonly used to season pork (think of sweet Italian sausages), but fresh rosemary or sage is also appropriate; chop the herbs to insert into the slits and then chop some more to season the rest of the meat. Roast beef is especially nice when larded with garlic and herbs in this way.
We used a pork loin that was about 3 1/2 pounds and 7 inches long, with 5 bones. Have the butcher French the bones for you and cut the chine bones so the loin can be easily cut into chops after roasting.
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Step 1: Make Slits
What You'll Need:
- 1 bone-in pork loin (about 3 1/2 pounds)
- 24 very thin slivers of garlic (from 1 or 2 cloves), plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon finely ground fennel seeds
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Use a sharp knife to make 24 slits evenly all over pork, including the ends, and insert a sliver of garlic and a small pinch of ground fennel seed into each one.
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Step 2: Cut Pork
Holding knife against the bones, cut about 2 inches down to separate meat from the bone to create a pocket, leaving the bottom portion intact.
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Step 3: Season Pork
Season inside the pocket with salt and pepper, then add chopped garlic and about 1/4 teaspoon fennel seed, spreading evenly.
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Step 4: Tie Pork
Tie roast closed with kitchen twine. Season generously with salt and pepper.
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Step 5: Roast Pork
Place pork on a rimmed baking sheet or in a roasting pan and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part (avoiding bone) registers 130 degrees, 45 to 60 minutes. (Start checking temperature after 40 minutes so you can better gauge its progress.)
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Step 6: Serve Pork
Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes to allow the internal temperature to rise to 140 (we find this is the optimal temperature for pork that is juicy and very slightly pink; if you are concerned, cook pork to 140 and it will rise to 150).