Serve with roasted garlic sweet potatoes and a green salad.
1 Pork Loin
Majani Tea Brine
8 cups water
1 cup coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
1/3 cup star anise or 1/8 cup anise seed
2 T whole Allspice
4 Bay leaves
Zest from 1/4 orange
.5 cups tea leaves, note, measurement is for full leaf Majani orthodox, if using CTC or fannings, reduce to .25 cup or less
10 cups water to steep tea
1/2 cup mustard
3 garlic cloves
fresh ground pepper, 10 turns
1 cup raw white rice
2 cinnamon sticks
zest from 1/4 orange
cracked black pepper corns
1/2 cup brown sugar
Heat 8 cups water with salt, sugar and spices. Bring to boil and turn off. Let cool. Add zest. Bring 10 cups water to boil and steep the 1 cup of tea leaves for 5 minutes. Strain, putting the tea leaves aside if you will be smoking with them later. Cool. Combine.
When mixture is room temperature, pour over pork loin. If brining a full loin you may need to cut it in half if you don’t have a container where you can fully submerge the pork in the brine. Refrigerate, keeping pork submerged for 24 to 36 hours. Remove from brine and rinse.
When ready to cook, consider roasting or smoking.
To Roast: preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine mustard, finely chopped garlic and pepper. Score the side of the pork loin that has a covering of fat. Rub with mustard mixture. Place in shallow roasting pan. Cook for 12 minutes in 450 degree oven. Turn down to 350 and continue cooking until done, around 140 degrees.
To Smoke you may want to consider roasting the loin and finishing with a short smoke in a smoker, wok, or using the hotel pan method. Alternatively, grilling with smoking with give a wonderful result. Either way, combine the reserved cup of tea leaves with one cup of raw white rice, orange zest, cinnamon stick, cracked black pepper and sugar. Place this mixture in the bottom of a heavily foil lined (multiple layers of foil) wok or hotel pan. Turn heat up (under the hood) until the mixture begins to smoke. Place in rack and pork. Cover with foil and then wok lid or sheetpan. If you are smoking without precooking, you will need to replace the smoking mixture after 15 minutes, so have additional mixture in the same proportions ready. If you have roasted or grilled and are just finishing with the tea smoke, one 15 minute run should give you a very nice result.
Recipe by Cynthia Gold – Tea Sommelier at L’Espalier and Author of Culinary Tea: More than 150 Recipes Steeped in Tradition from around the World.