Roast Pork Loin (Veprova Pecene) is a classic dish in Czech cuisine. It is roasted simply until well done (no pink middle as is the trend now) and then served with its pan juices.
This is comfort food of the highest order and can be found at a family dinner as well as in gourmet restaurants, with an upscale spin, of course. See the section, below, on Using Bone-In Pork for This Recipe.
- 4 pounds boneless pork loin (rolled, or 6-pound bone-in pork loin or 6-pound Boston butt or pork shoulder)
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons lard (or vegetable oil)
- 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
- 2 tablespoons caraway seeds
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
- Optional: 1 large onion (sliced 1/4 inch thick)
- Salt and black pepper to taste (for seasoning pan juices)
Gather the ingredients.
Heat the oven to 400 F.
Trim excess fat from the pork. Save the fat, if desired, to be rendered later and used for frying. Rub salt and pepper, to taste, into the meat. Heat the 3 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil in a large skillet.
When the lard or oil is hot, carefully place the meat in the skillet and brown on all sides.
Place the browned meat in a roasting pan large enough to accommodate it, but with the not too much extra room (otherwise the juices will evaporate too quickly).
On the meat, sprinkle 1 tablespoon dried marjoram, 2 tablespoons caraway seeds, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, and 1 cup water. Then lay the onion slices on top of the meat.
Place in the oven and roast for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, basting with pan juices every 15 to 20 minutes, and adding water as necessary. If the meat is browning too fast, cover loosely with aluminum foil.
When the meat is done, remove it to a serving platter. Skim any fat from the surfaces of the pan juices and add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve slices of the pork with sliced dumplings covered with pan juices. Don't forget the side of cabbage -- red is preferred! Leftover meat slices make terrific sandwiches.
Source: I adapted this recipe from one in "The Best of Czech Cooking" by Peter Trnka (Hippocrene Books Inc., 2009).
Using Bone-In Pork for This Recipe
I have to admit, I prefer to roast a bone-in Boston butt or pork shoulder roast for this dish because the meat cooks up juicier and the bone gives the meat a superior taste.
I also like to lay sliced onions on top of the roast because it adds so much flavor the pan juices, but this is not traditional.
If you like, you can roast a bone-in pork loin, just remember to purchase a 6-pound roast for 6 servings to make up for shrinkage and the bone weight that is discarded.