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Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010 10:16 am

Sage marinated roast pork

with braised apples, onions, and celery root and cider sauce

  • For the marinade
  • 2 c. buttermilk
  • 1/2 c. thinly sliced or diced onion   
  • 6 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 T. kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 c. dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. minced sage leaves
  • kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 6 T. bacon fat or vegetable oil, plus additional if needed
  • 4 c. cored apples, unpeeled, cut into inch thick slices
  • 4 c. onions, sliced one inch thick
  • 4 c. peeled celery root, cut into one-inch cubes
  • 1/4 c. thinly sliced sage leaves
  • 1/2 c. unpasteurized cider
  • Sage sprigs for garnish, optional

One or two days before you plan to serve the pork, combine the marinade ingredients in a large resealable plastic bag. Squish the bag with your hands to combine the ingredients and dissolve the sugar. Place the meat in the bag, remove as much air as possible and seal. Refrigerate the meat, turning the bag occasionally. Remove the bag from the refrigerator 2-3 hours before cooking to allow the meat to come to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat 2 T. of the bacon fat or oil in a large skillet over high heat. When the fat is hot but not smoking, add the onions and sauté until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the onions to a baking dish large enough to hold the pork roast. Add another tablespoon of bacon fat to the skillet and add the celery root cubes. Brown them lightly as with the onions and transfer them to the baking dish. Add another tablespoon of the bacon fat to the skillet and repeat with the apples. Stir the apples, onions and celery root to combine.

 Pour off any fat remaining in the skillet. Return the skillet to the heat and add the sage leaves. Stir fry for about a minute, then pour in the cider and deglaze the skillet, scraping up any browned bits into the liquid, then pour over the apples, onions and celery root. Stir to combine, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, then place the baking dish in the oven for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Remove the pork from the marinade, pat dry with paper towels and sprinkle generously with pepper. Wipe the skillet clean, then heat the remaining 2 T. bacon fat in it over medium high heat. Brown the pork well on all sides and then transfer it to the baking dish. Set the skillet aside to make the cider sauce. Bake the pork until a meat thermometer inserted halfway into it registers 150°. Baking time will depend on the size and type of roast. If using pork chops, begin checking them after 45 minutes; begin checking roasts after 1 hour, 15 minutes.

While the pork is roasting, make the cider sauce. When the roast is done, remove from the oven. Let it rest for 20-30 minutes, then slice. Spread the vegetable/apple mixture onto a large platter, then top with the sliced pork. Drizzle with some of the cider sauce, and pass the rest separately at the table. Garnish with sprigs of sage leaves if desired. Serves 6.

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