Topped with a sweet and tangy cranberry sauce, this succulent pork loin roasts alongside potatoes. An impressive meal that’s incredibly easy to make any day of the week, yet it’s fancy enough to serve dinner guests and festive enough for the holidays.
My local market has a buy one, get one free offer on pork loin every now and again. This is already an inexpensive cut of meat, which makes this such an irresistible deal. I usually buy a few, cooking one for dinner that week and tossing the others in the freezer for future dinners. Keeping the freezer stocked means I’m always prepared to whip up a tasty meal. And that’s exactly how this dinner came to be.
At the last minute, my husband, informs me that he’s invited friends over for dinner. I have two days to get my act together. The house needs cleaning, I need to plan the meal, get the groceries, prepare the meal, and, in the end, relax and host the dinner. No worries. I got this.
I pulled a pork loin out of the freezer. Sent hubby to the store to buy cranberry sauce and potatoes because I already had everything else on hand. A quick once over to knock the high spots off was good enough for me — who has time to clean, right!?
Time to cook. Absolutely no stress the day of the dinner. It took less than 15 minutes to prepare the pork for roasting. To make things even simpler, I tossed the potatoes in with the pork loin to cook knowing the loin’s fat layer will produce a flavorful juice for the potatoes to cook in. While the roast is cooking, I toss the sauce ingredients into a pan to simmer.
In about an hour, I have a succulent pork loin with golden brown crusted potatoes. I sliced up the pork and topped it with the sweet and tangy cranberry sauce. Wow, it looked like a fancy gourmet meal and tasted even better. Everyone enjoyed dinner that night, and the meal got rave reviews.
Voilà. Dinner success.
- You’ll need a roasting pan that can go from the stovetop to the oven with ease. I use my 15-inch oval roaster all the time. It’s non-stick surface cleans up well and cooks evenly.
- There’s nothing drier and tougher than overcooked pork and serving undercooked pork may cause food poisoning. That’s why an instant digital meat thermometer is ideal to check for doneness. This is a must-have, nifty gadget to have in your kitchen.
- A 2-quart nonstick saucepan is ideal for cooking the cranberry sauce. Built to last a lifetime, this heavy duty pan goes from the stovetop to an oven up to 500° F. A workhorse in the kitchen for sure.
- Complete the meal with a small side salad and a veggie like steamed broccoli or fresh green beans. A basket full of dinner rolls is always a wonderful idea, and they’re especially good for sopping up and enjoying the sweet and tangy cranberry sauce.
- Leftovers make a terrific meal the next day. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to four days.
- While this meal is easy to make for busy weeknights or dinner parties, it’s especially good for holidays. Serve pork instead of — or together with — turkey for Thanksgiving or Easter. Delicious!
- This is an elegant and impressive dish, especially when served at the table on a porcelain oval platter or a natural bamboo platter. Perfect for guests and the holidays.
- This is easily a make ahead meal if you prepare without the potatoes. Simply cook the pork loin the night before. Cover and store in the refrigerator. On dinner night, prepare the cranberry sauce as directed. Place the cooked pork loin in the roasting pan and cover with the cranberry sauce. Bake at 300° F until warm and bubbly. Super simple, super delicious. (Note, you can also prepare the potatoes on dinner night following the directions below, separately from the pork loin.)
- There is a difference between pork loin and pork tenderloin, so be sure you’re using a pork loin for this recipe. The loin is larger and better suited for roasting. In a pinch, you can use a tenderloin if needed. Be careful, though, it will cook much faster and dry out easier than the pork loin.
- Overcooked or undercooked pork is never a good thing. Be sure to test for doneness using an instant digital meat thermometer. It’s done and ready to serve when the center temperature reaches 145° F.
- Sweet potatoes are excellent substitute for the new potatoes. Peel the potatoes and cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces, then follow the same directions. The complementary taste of the sweet potatoes, along with its coloring, will take this dish to a whole new level.
- Canned cranberry sauce typically comes in two varieties: whole berry and jellied. While either will work for this recipe, I do recommend the whole berry variety. The berries give a little extra tanginess that complements the pork loin so well.
- Prefer fresh berries over canned. No problem. You can easily create a fresh cranberry sauce. Add one cup of sugar and a 12-ounce bag of fresh berries to one cup of boiling water. Continue boiling for about five minutes or until the berries pop. If using this in place of canned cranberries, omit the honey.
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