Monday, November 25, 2013

Uber Low Sodium Pork Roast

What is the old saying?  If you want to make God laugh make a plan.  I had intended to return to cooking full time after the work at the lake was done.  Instead, I have been busy helping my folks through a difficult time.

 Things are more stable and my stove is going full steam ahead with just a slight difference.  Mom is now on a reduced sodium diet and does not need to be cooking at the moment. Since I live very close  it is easier for me to cook for them and run it down to their house than it would be to cook in their home.  I truly feel grateful that I can do something like this.  They are both so stubborn they refuse to let us help any other way.

One of the things I have learned through this process is how insanely salt laden most commercially prepared foods are.  I am not sure I really looked at packages well enough in the past.  Just check out the labels of whatever you are eating and you will be shocked.  Even something as simple as the chili powder in your spice cabinet most likely has salt added. (Well done Penzy's, who has not one but two chili blends that are totally sodium free!)

Another thing I have learned is how easy it is to mask the true taste of food with salt.  After about 2 weeks of eating what I prepare for Mom and Dad my salt tolerance has really decreased.  I ate some slightly salted popcorn last night and was dying for water to wash the salty taste away.

Today's food is a rather simple pork roast that is packed with flavor.  I found the original recipe on The Pioneer Woman  here.  I did a bit of altering so it would work for Mom.  The result was a truly tasty meal with zero added salt.

                                            Pork Roast With Apples And Onions

2 tablespoons cooking oil ( I used sunflower oil)
1 pork loin roast ( about 3 pounds)
coarsely ground black pepper to taste
3 onions, julienne sliced
3 hard, crisp apples, cored and cut in wedges ( I used Granny Smith because I had them in the crisper drawer )
1 cup apple juice
2 envelopes no sodium beef bouillon
2 cups water
3 bay leaves

In a heavy large pot with a lid heat the cooking oil to medium hot. Generously pepper the pork loin on all sides.  Brown turning so each surface of the roast is uniformly brown.  Put the onion slices in the pan and let them wilt slightly.  Add the apples.  Sprinkle the bouillon powder on the roast then pour the apple juice and the water over it.  When the liquid gets hot add the 3 bay leaves.  Turn the heat down to a medium heat and put the lid on the pan.   Cut the heat down to a medium low and cook until the roast is tender. (About 2-2 1/2 hours)

 Remove the roast to a cutting board.  Using a large slotted spoon remove the onions and apples and put them on individual plates or on one large platter.  Turn the heat under the pan on high and cook until the remaining liquid is reduced by 2/3 and is very thick and sauce like.   Cut the roast into slices and place it on the cooked apples and onions.  Top each slice with some of the reduced sauce.  Serve with whatever starch you prefer and a side green vegetable.

If you prefer a salted version, salt and pepper the roast before browning and use regular beef broth instead of the no sodium bouillon.

This was extremely tasty and quite filling.  The apples tend to turn to mush, which creates the thick sauce.  If you want the apples to have a little more shape and texture, I would add a couple more during the last 45 minutes of the cooking time.

 I served this with a plain boiled red potato and steamed asparagus.  I hesitated to serve it with rice ( I would have used short grain brown rice rather than the wild rice The Pioneer Woman used) because Mom is still balking at the way unsalted food tastes.  I was able to cut her potatoes in fourths  and drag them through the sauce left on the bottom of the plan.  Every bit of flavor counts!  I ate this for lunch and thought it was fantastic but the true test was my salt loving mother's opinion.  She thought it was delicious and actually called me to tell me.  I take this as high praise since she has been telling me how bad most things have tasted so far.  So yeah!  Success that was really good.

Can't wait to see what she thinks of the no salt sausage!

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