Noah * Paleo Pork & Crispy Herbed Vegetables
So remember how last week I mentioned that Max has a twin brother? Well, despite the fact that they both share a penchant for late-night Mexican food and Sencha green tea, they are, in fact, entirely different people. See?
Like Max, Noah is a great cook. Unlike Max, Noah is a personal trainer at one of the best fitness clubs in Chicago, and he will kick your butt in the gym. Have you heard of High Intensity Training (HIT)? It goes something like this: 1) show up for your workout breathing normally and walking on two legs, 2) leave said workout crawling on hands and knees, body shaking, head spinning, vision blurred.
I mean, that’s what I hear.
So, since Noah likes to stay busy kicking people’s butts (his own included), he needs to stay properly fueled. After years of research and experimentation, he now considers himself a disciple of the Paleo philosophy on diet. Read: no cake, no french fries.
It’s a lifestyle low in carbohydrates, but unlike Atkins, it encourages a high consumption of vegetables and distinguishes between proteins like bacon (with preservatives, nitrates, and lots of saturated fat) and proteins like wild-caught salmon (with their heart-healthy Omega 3’s). The focus is more on health than simply how much you weigh. It’s meant to mimic the diet of our ancestors and give our bodies the foods they were (presumably) designed to eat.
So what does a typical meal look like for Noah? Dinner usually begins with a “giant raw salad.” From there, he’ll move onto a cooked protein like this roasted pork — crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. When it comes to seasoning, he likes to keep it simple with some salt, pepper and a showering of Italian herbs.
As for the vegetables, well — they’re almost a work of art. Chopped green kale pillows a layer of purple-red onions, while julienne-cut carrots form a vibrant orange circle on top. Sprinkled with herbs and splattered with olive oil, the carrots curl up a bit and grow crispy as they cook. The outer layers of the onion bunches become sweeter, while the inner layers retain more of their distinctive onion tang. The kale is alternately crispy, crunchy and soft.
And, whether or not you practice Paleo, it is all delicious.
Three Quick Questions…and Noah’s Answers
It’s your last meal. What do you have?
It would probably be something really unhealthy. If I’m indulging, I love a fully loaded hamburger with lots of cheese and maybe sautéed mushrooms. The Americans, you know — they were on to something when they started souping up the burgers.
Your kitchen is burning down. What’s the one thing you grab?
Easily my Le Creuset red dutch oven. I use it for pretty much everything: sauces, roasting, sautéing.
Do you have a favorite cookbook?
Yes. It’s called the Meat Book, by River Cottage. These two guys run this cottage in England that’s part of, like, a farm cooperative. They grow their own produce and raise their own livestock and pretty much take food from the farm to the table and make these books. And one of them is the Meat Book. The Meat Book is where I learned most of my methods for roasting, frying, slow-cooking, fast-cooking, how to handle steak differently from roasts, how poultry differs from pork or beef, everything. They don’t overcomplicate their dishes at all, and they’re huge on using the supplied fat from meat itself to flavor the dishes.
- 2 lb pork loin
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1-2 tbsp Herbs de Provence (any combination of savory,
- oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil, tarragon and lavender)
- 3 dried bay leaves
- large bunch loosely chopped kale OR 1 cored and thickly sliced head cabbage
- 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
- 1 red onion, cut into small wedges
- optional: eggs to top individual servings of pork
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- There is often a thin layer of fat on one side of the roast. Do not trim this off, as it will help keep the pork nice and moist. Season generously on all sides with salt, pepper and Herbs de Provence.
- Heat a splash of olive oil in a dutch oven, heavy cast iron pan, or roasting pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add roast and brown well on all sides.
- Remove roast from pan and set on cutting board. Place kale (or cabbage), carrots, and onions in the pan and sprinkle with olive oil, salt, pepper and Herbs de Provence. The vegetables will shrink quite a bit, so fill up the pan with as much as you can manage.
- If using a roasting pan, position roast on rack. Otherwise, place your roast directly on top of the vegetables. Always position your pork roast so that the fatty side is on top, allowing the juices to seep down as it cooks. At this point, Noah also likes to place a few dried bay leaves atop the roast.
- Place your roasting pan, dutch oven, or cast iron pan in the center of the oven, and cook uncovered for about 40 minutes, or until internal temperature of pork loin reaches 140°F (the pork will continue to cook once you take it out of the oven). A meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the roast is the best way to judge when the pork is done.
- Remove roast from oven and set on a cutting board. Cover the meat with tin foil and let it rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve alongside vegetables.