Roasted Pork Loin with Chive Spaetzle, Slow Roasted Balsamic Onions Recipe

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Flour, TooWhen Chris, our opening chef at Flour1, decided to leave to open his own restaurant, I knew I couldn’t hire just anyone to replace him. In three short years, his immense culinary skills, which he translated into wildly popular soups and inventive sandwiches, had put Flour on the Boston map. We found the perfect replacement in our next chef, Aniceto, who hailed from a four-star French restaurant and blew me away during his interview by making a creamy sweet corn soup with Thai basil. Aniceto spent the next five years pushing the menu in every way possible, introducing our customers (and me) to new ingredients and flavors and techniques. He eventually left Flour to get back into restaurant work, but I didn’t have to miss his food for long. When we launched our third location in Cambridge, he rejoined Flour as part of the opening team.

This pork loin combines four great recipes, two from Chris and two from Aniceto, into one swoon-worthy main course. The pork and spaetzle recipes come from Aniceto, who offered the pork loin one year for our holiday menu. It filled our normally sweet-smelling kitchen with the most mouthwatering garlicky, oregano aroma. The kitchen stood by patiently for tastes as Aniceto carved it up. The onions and oregano mojo recipes are courtesy of Chris, who combined them with roasted pork in a sandwich special that customers still ask about today.

  • Yield: 6 Servings


  • ½ cup (105 g) kosher salt
  • ½ cup (110 g) packed brown sugar
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 orange, halved
  • 10 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 lb (1.4 kg) boneless pork loin
Oregano Mojo and To Roast The Pork
  • 1 cup (55 g) finely chopped fresh oregano
  • ½ cup (120 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 0.33 cup (80 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3 large garlic cloves, smashed and minced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 6 fresh oregano sprigs
Slow-Roasted Balsamic Onions and Chive Spaetzle
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (240 ml) balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium onions
  • 2 cups (280 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1.75 cup (180 ml) whole milk
  • 3 tbsp minced fresh chives
  • 3 tbsp minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1½ tsp kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
How to Make It
    The Day Before Serving, Make the Brine
  1. Pour 2½ qt/2.5 L water into the stockpot, add the salt, brown sugar, cinnamon, orange, thyme, garlic, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, and bay leaves and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove the pot from the heat and let the brine cool completely.
  2. Add the pork to the brine, making sure it is totally submerged. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Once the Pork is in the Brine, Make the Oregano Mojo
  4. In a small bowl, combine the oregano, olive oil, lime juice, garlic, salt, and pepper and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before using. The mojo can be made up to 1 week in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  5. To Make the Roasted Onions
  6. Preheat the oven to 325°F/165°C and place a rack in the center of the oven. Sprinkle the baking sheet with the salt and pepper, add the vinegar and olive oil, and stir carefully to combine.
  7. Peel the onions, cut a thin slice off both ends, and then cut crosswise (horizontally) into rounds ½ in/12 mm thick. Arrange the onion rounds in a single flat layer in the liquid on the baking sheet. Turn the rounds over a few times to coat them evenly with the vinegar-oil mixture, being careful to keep them intact.
  8. Cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil or top with the second baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, then, using the pastry brush, baste each round with the vinegar-oil mixture. Re-cover the pan and return it to the oven, rotating it back to front for even roasting. Roast for another 20 minutes. Repeat basting and rotating every 20 minutes for 1½ to 2 hours, or until the inner ring of each onion round is fork-tender. Remove from the oven and set aside until the onions are cool enough to handle, then toss them into a bowl (and adjust the seasoning with more salt if needed). The onions can be made up to 1 week in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Serve cool or at room temperature.
  9. To Make the Spaetzle
  10. Scoop the flour into a large bowl, make a well in the middle of the flour, and add the eggs to the well. Using a wooden spoon, slowly stir together the eggs and flour until blended. Add the milk and beat with the spoon until incorporated. The batter will be somewhat lumpy. Stir in the chives, parsley, and salt. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  11. Fill the large saucepan with salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. While the water is heating, fill a large bowl with ice cubes, add cold water just to cover the ice, and set aside. Rest the colander in the rim of the pan of boiling water, making sure the bottom is not touching the water. (If it does touch the water, recruit a second pair of hands to hold the colander above the water.)
  12. Using a bowl scraper or rubber spatula and working in batches, scrape a large scoop of the chilled batter into the pan or colander. Then, using a back-and-forth motion, scrape the batter through the holes into the boiling water, where it will set into little noodles. In about 45 seconds, the noodles will bob to the top. Using a slotted spoon, remove the noodles and plunge them into the ice bath. Repeat until all of the batter is cooked and the noodles are cooled, then drain the noodles and transfer them to a medium bowl. Add 1½ tbsp of the oil and toss until evenly coated. Store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve. Reserve the remaining 1½ tbsp oil for heating the spaetzle just before serving.
  13. To Roast the Pork
  14. Remove the pork from the brine and pat dry with paper towels until completely dry. Let the pork come to room temperature for about 30 minutes, and then pat dry again. Preheat the oven to 325°F/165°C, and place a rack in the center of the oven.
  15. Place the roasting rack on the baking sheet (you can rinse the baking sheet you used for the onions) and set aside. Sprinkle the pork evenly all over with the salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over high heat, then add the vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, carefully add the pork loin, fatside down, then throw in the garlic and oregano. Reduce the heat to medium-high and sear the pork on the first side for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bottom caramelizes and develops color. Turn the pork over and cook for another minute until it browns.
  16. Transfer the pork to the roasting rack on the baking sheet. Pour the drippings and anything left in the skillet over the pork. Roast the pork for 60 to 70 minutes, or until the meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers an internal temperature of 135°F/55°C. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
  17. Rinse the skillet used for the pork roast, place it over medium-high heat, and add the remaining 1½ tbsp oil. Add the spaetzle and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 8 minutes, or until crispy and golden brown. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  18. Cut the pork loin into slices ½ in/12 mm thick and arrange on a platter to serve. Pass the spaetzle, slow-roasted onions, and oregano mojo at the table.

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