– Today, on Cook’s Country, I’m making a bacon wrapped pork roast with peach sauce. Adam’s revealing the greatest graters. Tony’s telling us the history of German immigrants in Texas. And Morgan’s making Texas potato pancakes. It’s all right here on Cook’s Country.
Pig fat has been used in cooking since prehistoric times and the word lard first appeared in the English language in the 1300s as a verb. To lard something meant to insert a thin strip of bacon deep into a roast that would add flavor and moisture during the cooking process, and to do that, you’d use a tool like this. This is a larding needle, and you can see it has a channel here that I filled with bacon.
And what you’d do is, you would insert this needle deep into a roast, and then you’d use this slider to hold the bacon in place while you remove the needle, leaving the bacon behind deep in the roast. Today, home cooks don’t really use larding needles, but instead lay pieces of bacon attractively over the top of a roast, which does pretty much the same thing, it adds fat and flavor to a lean cut of meat during cooking.
So today, I’m gonna show you how to make a bacon wrapped pork loin. And this is a 3 1/2 pound center cut pork loin. And this is the perfect thing to wrap in bacon because despite this fat cap on the top, the meat itself is pretty lean, so that extra fat and flavor is really welcome.
Now, to get this ready before we wrap it in bacon, I’m first gonna take off all this excess fat using this boning knife, I’m just gonna trim away any big hunks of fat. Sometimes when you buy these, there’s almost no fat on them whatsoever.
This one has a nice thick coating. I like the boning knife because it has a nice sharp tip that goes right under the fat. It also gets under that silver skin that’s lying just underneath the fat. Now that looks pretty good. I’ve gotten most of the big pieces of fat off.
Next up, we’re gonna season the meat with some sugar and some salt. So that’s a tablespoon of sugar, four teaspoons of kosher salt. We’re gonna mix those together and just sprinkle it all over the roast.
And this does a couple things, it not only seasons the meat, obviously, but it’ll help the meat stay good and juicy as it cooks in the oven. So now I’m just gonna wrap this piece of pork up in plastic and put it in the fridge for at least an hour, but you could do this up to 24 hours in advance.
This pork loin is ready for its bacon wrapping, but just before we do that, I’m gonna season it with a teaspoon of ground black pepper and just two teaspoons of herbs de Provence.
Now herbs de Provence is a spice mixture that contains herbs you usually find in Southern France, including coriander, fennel, and sometimes lavender. Now you can obviously buy pre-made herbs de Provence or you can make it yourself. And for that recipe, you can check out our website. All right, just gonna pat the pork dry here and then sprinkle it with the pepper and the herbs, really rubbing it in on all sides.
Oh, that’s gonna taste good. Okay, now for the bacon. The best way to wrap something with bacon is to lay the strips of bacon out onto a cutting board.
And this is 10 slices of bacon. I’m gonna shingle them here so it not only looks attractive, but it’s gonna be about the length of our roast so it’ll cover it completely.
That’s perfect. Now, putting the roast right in the center of the bacon, I’m just gonna wrap the bacon all the way around the roast and overlap the sides on the bottom if there is a little overlapping. Mm! All right. I’m just gonna transfer it to a foil lined baking sheet and that foil has been sprayed with vegetable oil, that just prevents the roast from sticking.
This roast is ready for the oven, and we’re gonna use two oven temperatures to get it perfectly cooked through with the crisp bacon on top.
So to start, we’re gonna do low and slow, 250 degrees for about 30 minutes. And then we’re gonna crank the oven all the way up to 475 for the last few minutes so that the outside gets good and crisp. So while that pork is in the oven, it gives us a chance to make a quick sauce, and I’m gonna make a peach sauce, which peaches, pork, and bacon is a magical combination of flavors. Now, luckily, peaches are great frozen, so that’s what I’m using here.
This is 20 ounces of frozen peaches. These have been already chopped up, which is lovely. Now, if you buy peach slices, it just means you have to chop ’em up a little bit before you cook them.
I also have four sprigs of thyme and all this is going right into a sauce pan. To this, I’m gonna add a cup of dry white wine.
And a sauvignon blanc or an unoaked chardonnay is perfect here. We’re gonna add a little bit of cider vinegar, just a 1/3 of a cup of cider vinegar, half a cup of white sugar, and a little bit of salt. Now, I’m just gonna bring this to a simmer over medium high heat and when it’s bubbling, turn it down to medium and let it go for about half an hour and the sauce will reduce to about two cups and it’ll be nice and thick. It’s been about 30 minutes, time to check on the pork. Oh, the waft of bacon that comes out of the oven when you open it, it’s a good thing.
All right, so, now we’re gonna temp the pork and we’re looking for an internal temperature of just 90 degrees at this point. Let’s see what we got, going right into the center. Ooh, perfect, 92. All right, on the money.
So now, we’re gonna crank the oven temperature to 475 degrees.
While that oven is heating up, let’s take a look at our sauce, it’s been simmering away here for about half an hour. You can see it’s much thicker. Almost has the consistency of a chutney, which I love on a pork roast like this. So now I’m just gonna go in and fish out those pieces of thyme. Here we go.
Now, this is a little trick, I’m gonna take just a little bit of the syrup of this sauce, about two tablespoons. You don’t want any big pieces of peach here, just the syrup and just brush it lightly over the bacon so that when it goes back into the hot oven, it’ll just get a little more brown. Back into the oven this pork roast goes for another 15 to 20 minutes at that higher temperature of 475 degrees.
Oh my goodness. Ooh, ooh, ooh. That is bacon wrapped done right. Ugh. Now we are looking for an internal temperature of the pork to be about 130.
There we go. Hovering right around 130, 131, which is perfect. Now, usually when we cook pork, we aim for 140, then it’ll rest to 145 before eating. So 130 is a little on the low side here, but that’s on purpose because it just came out of our ripping hot oven, 475 degrees and the higher the oven temperature, the more carryover cooking, so by pulling it out a little on the early side, at 130, we’ll prevent it from tasting dry.
All right, so now we’re gonna get it off this hot sheet pan and let it rest on a wire rack.
And this is a beauty. So, I’m gonna take my time and transfer it very carefully. Gonna use tongs, slide this nice spatula underneath. Hmm. Oh, oh, oh, that is gorgeous!
Now I’m just gonna let it rest for 15 minutes before we can slice it up and taste it with a peach sauce. That pork has been resting for 15 minutes so, it’s serving time. Now, I’m just reheating this peach sauce up to make it nice and warm. Finish it with a couple tablespoons of whole grain mustard, add a little zing to the sauce.
That smells delicious.
All right, so into a serving bowl goes the sauce. And now for the main event, the pork loin. All right, just gonna transfer this to a carving board. Isn’t a beautiful roast? So easy and so lovely.
Good enough for company, I’d say. Now I’m just gonna slice it into about half inch thick slices, ’cause you want a nice piece of bacon around the edge. Oh yes. Oh, so juicy. I can smell the herbs de Provence as I slice into it.
Oh, look at that. I just love how juicy that pork is. Just a little bit of this peach sauce. Peaches, bacon, and pork, oh yeah. (laughing) Oh, a little pork, little of that crisp bacon on top, little peach and mustard.
Hm hmm. Mm, that’s delicious. The pork is perfectly cooked and the herbs de Provence, it’s not overwhelming, it’s just a little hint of it underneath the bacon. It’s not overwhelming, but it’s just a little fragrant. It’s such a welcome unexpected hit of flavor.
To make this incredible pork roast, start by seasoning the pork with a little salt and sugar, sprinkle with a little bit of herb de Provence, and serve with a peach mustard sauce. from Cook’s Country, the ultimate recipe for bacon wrapped pork roast with peach sauce. At some point, every cook is gonna meet their grater. And I wanna make sure that when you do, it’s the right one. We have eight different models.
The price range was 9.50 to $36. And we tested them just on the large coarse grading holes using soft cheese, hard cheese, carrots, and potatoes.
There are a couple of different styles that you can see. These two are paddle graters, which you can actually put right over a bowl if you want.
This one is a two-sided grater with coarse on one side, fine on the other. And the rest of that familiar box grater form factor that everybody knows. When the graters are manufactured, the teeth are put into the metal in one of two ways, they are either etched in through a chemical process or they are stamped in through a physical process.
And in our test, the testers all gravitated towards the teeth that were stamped for two reasons. Number one, there were a little more prominent.
And number two, there was more clearance for the food shreds to fall through. Another thing that you wanna pay attention to is the size of the grating surface. Some of them were longer, some of them were shorter. This one, for instance, is about 6 1/2 inches, that provided plenty of space to complete your strokes and get nice, neat, efficient grating. This one on the other hand, the grating plane was just 3 and 3 1/4 inches.
Testers had a hard time finishing the strokes and that would leave shreds of food hanging off whatever it was that they were grating.
A bunch of the testers gravitated towards the box style graters because they were stable on the work surface, and part of that equation was these rubberized bases that just helped them sit really securely, as well as their form factor. One of the paddle style graters had rubber tips over the feet so that that would be secure on the work surface also. Testers also liked handles that were a little bit chunkier, easier to hold onto, with a rubberized material covering them. So in the name of different strokes for different folks, we have winners in two of the categories.
If you’re the sort who likes a paddle style grater because it’s easier to clean and a little more flexible in terms of positioning.
Rosle coarse grader is your winner, it’s $36. If you prefer a box style grater because it contains the shreds and it’s super stable on the work surface, Cuisinart box grater is $12. Both of them have great sharp stamped teeth. They’re both stable on the work surface and easy to hold.
Both of them do a great job. If you drive through the Texas Hill Country, you’re bound to come across some German names. You can pick peaches in Fredericksburg, listen to country tunes in Luckenbach, take a cool dip at the Schlitterbahn Water Park, or grab a beer in Shiner. There’s a reason for that. In 1831, a German named Johann Friedrich Ernst came to Texas in search of land.
At that time, land was plentiful in the Hill Country. He wrote back to friends and family and soon, German immigrants were flooding to the region. By 1845, a group of noblemen formed a society with a goal of creating German settlements in Texas. This organized effort gave working class Germans economic opportunity they couldn’t find back home, and soon, settlements grew throughout the region.
While German migration continued throughout the 19th century, interest in German culture slowed.
Immigrants started to assimilate with the Texan American culture of their new homeland and the anti-German prejudice that followed both world wars discouraged ethnic Germans from speaking the language. But today, many descendants of these early immigrants celebrate their German heritage. Every year, the town of New Braunfels hosts a 10-day German food festival called Wurstfest. And that’s where the Cook’s Country team drew inspiration for our take on kartoffelpuffer or Texas potato pancakes. New Braunfels, Texas is home to an event called Wurstfest, which, as its name implies, is a 10-day salute to sausage.
I went a few years ago to investigate and learned, it’s not all sausage. There’s also polka dancing, and more relevant for someone who works at a food magazine, there are these amazing potato pancakes that the local rotary club makes.
They’re crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. To make my own version at home, I’m starting with two pounds of russet potatoes. So russet potatoes are high starch and low moisture.
I’m gonna peel and grate these. I really like to use a box grater or hand grater, it gives you a little more control than something like a food processor, but a food processor with a shredding disc also works really well. This grating step can be done about half an hour in advance. The potatoes will start to turn a little orange or red, but they’ll still be as crispy and delicious. To get a really crispy texture, we wanted to get rid of any excess moisture, even though russets are low moisture, they still have a lot of water in them.
So, I’m gonna squeeze out these potatoes. I’m taking half the batch and you can just eyeball this, just spreading them in a clean dish towel, rolling it up, and then squeezing, and it’s a little messy, but that’s okay, in the end with a crispy pancake, it’ll be so well worth it. People might be tempted to not do this step at home, but there’s so much moisture that comes out and that would just make for really soggy pancake. The pancakes at Wurstfest were very simple, they were just potato, salt, and onion and they were so good in their simplicity, and it allowed the real beauty of their texture to come through. And that’s what I’m doing.
I’m doing a 1/3 of a cup of grated onion. It feels a little strange to grate an onion, but doing it on the same grater allows the texture to, like, really melt in there, and they sort of melt into the pancake in a way. And I’m just gonna add it in to the potatoes.
I have a few more things to do to finish these pancakes but before I do that, I’m gonna get the oil heating. I have 1 1/4 cups of vegetable oil in this 12 inch skillet.
I’m gonna get it to 325 degrees. It’s gonna take just a few minutes so while that finishes heating, I’m gonna finish putting together the rest of my batter. I have two large eggs that are lightly beaten, and this just hold everything together when frying. 1 and a 1/4 teaspoons of table salt, and then a 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour. This mixture’s gonna feel a little dry, that’s a good thing, that’s what you want, that’s why we squeezed out all that moisture.
All right, potatoes are ready to go, oil’s heating, and now it is time to fry. So when I check oil in a shallow fry like this, I always like to tilt the pan to the side. So you get a better, easier read on it. I’m looking for 325 and I’m right about there. And I’m just gonna keep my skillet over medium heat, but I’ll keep an eye on the temperature as I fry and adjust it a little bit as I need.
I have a 1/3 cup measure here, and I’m just gonna add this gently to the oil. So, people, when they fry, I think, often get really scared and I get that. You kinda wanna do something counterintuitive when you fry, and get as close to the oil as you can. You have more control and you can be as gentle as you want. And I’m spreading them with a back of a dinner spoon to about four inches.
The ones at Wurstfest were actually like dinner plate sized, they were huge. But they are a pain to flip and I have a few burns to show from it. And now I’m just gonna fry until they’re golden brown on the first side, which will take three to four minutes. When I fry something like this, I always want as much control as possible.
Frying is intimidating, but using two spatulas is really helpful, you can get in there and have maximum control for checking them, so you can kinda peek under them a little bit and see if they’re deep, golden and brown, which is what we’re looking for.
They kinda look like giant hash browns, and I am very excited about it. Same deal, three to four minutes, and I’m looking for these to be golden brown again on the second side.
It’s been three minutes and I’m gonna just check the bottom side of these the same way. They are looking so nice and golden brown. And I’m using the two spatulas again for max control, moving them to a paper towel and plate.
You do this so it helps wick off any excess grease. And you wanna do 15 seconds a side. And after 15 seconds a side, I’m gonna throw them on a wire rack. So those are gonna hang for a second. I’m gonna start another batch.
You can see with the batter, it separated a little bit. There’s a lot of water pooling on one side of it, that’s really normal, it happens. You just wanna make sure to stir it before frying another batch. And then same deal as last time, I’m gonna double check the oil, make sure it’s at 325.
I’m gonna carefully drop in a 1/3 of a cup of batter at a time.
While this batch finishes frying, I’m gonna throw these crispy ones in a low 200 degree oven to keep them nice and warm. And then I’ll come back and finish this whole process of frying and warming until I have all four batches done. Today, I’m making easy, homemade mayonnaise. Vegetable oil, a large egg, Dijon mustard, salt, white wine vinegar, and sugar. Simple ingredients, and much better than anything you can buy in a jar.
We’re using a food processor so we’ll have lots of power to emulsify the mayo. I’m using a whole egg here, not just the yolk. It’s easier, less wasteful, and gives us more liquid in the bottom of the food processor for the blades to catch. Tangy vinegar and sharp mustard will punch up the flavor. Mustard helps the mixture emulsify.
Salt and a bit of sugar will balance the acidity.
After five seconds or so, start drizzling in the vegetable oil very slowly. If you add it too quickly, it will separate and the mayo will be greasy and lumpy. And don’t get tempted to substitute olive oil for the vegetable oil. If you do, the mayonnaise will turn out bitter.
As you add more oil and the emulsion forms, you’ll notice that the mixture thickens and becomes lighter in color. When you’ve added all the oil, scrape down the sides of the bowl, then keep processing until the mixture is thick and homogenous in color and texture. That’s it, just transfer to an air tight container. You can refrigerate the mayonnaise for up to a week. Slather this bright mayo over white bread and top with tomatoes, salt, and pepper for a great tomato sandwich.
Tangy, creamy, easy, homemade mayonnaise.This is a fourth batch, which means it’s almost time to eat.
As I was frying, I added a little bit of extra oil along the way, anytime it got below a 1/4 of an inch. That just keeps them nice and surrounded by vegetable oil. And back onto the plate to drain, they smell kinda like a French fry in a really nice way.
It is almost time to eat, which is the most exciting part. Before I do that though, I always like to season stuff while it’s still hot, especially after frying. So I have a little bit of salt and some pepper. I think when things are hot, the salt and pepper stick to them a little better. Down in Texas, at Wurstfest, these were called kartoffelpuffers, it’s the German word for potato pancake.
Whatever you wanna call them, they are delicious. They also serve them down there with either apple sauce or sour cream, or if it’s your vibe, you can get ’em sprinkled with powdered sugar. I’m not super into the sweet thing here, but, I think, I’ll do one of each. It’s so crispy, so crunchy, so delicious. They’re nice and salty in like a good seasoned kinda way, not in an overly salty way, but in a, like, I wanna eat a lot of these and sort of drink a beer alongside them kinda way.
A little oniony, but not a lot. While I’m here, I’m eating them with a fork and knife ’cause there’s a camera and I don’t, you know, wanna be a slob, but down at Wurstfest, you just eat ’em with your hands and that’s what I’d probably do at home. So crunchy, so good. So if you wanna make these crispy kartoffelpuffers, it’s all about controlling the moisture. So start with russet potatoes and wring out any extra moisture you can get out.
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