Pork loin with fennel and herb couscous recipe


Inspired by the lively flavors of North African cuisine, we set out to create a satisfying one-pot meal featuring easy-to-prepare boneless pork loin. To keep the lean meat juicy through cooking, we brined it and braised it at a low temperature in a covered Dutch oven to hold in moisture. Searing the roast before braising created flavorful browning, and to further enhance the mild pork’s flavor we infused our braising liquid with potent aromatics including fennel stalks, onion, garlic, and orange zest.

  • Yield: 6 Servings
  • Total Time: 3 Hours 30 Minutes


  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 (2½- to 3-pound) boneless pork loin roast, fat trimmed to ¼ inch
  • 2 cups fresh cilantro leaves
  • 9 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest plus 1¼ cups juice (3 oranges)
  • ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 2 fennel bulbs, fronds minced to get ⅓ cup, stalks chopped to get 1 cup, bulbs halved, cored, and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1½ cups chicken broth
  • 1½ cups couscous
  • ½ cup dried apricots, chopped
How to Make It
  1. Dissolve ¼ cup salt in 2 quarts cold water in large container. Submerge roast in brine, cover, and refrigerate for 1½ to 2 hours.
  2. Pulse cilantro, half of garlic, cumin, paprika, cayenne, and ½ teaspoon salt in food processor until coarsely chopped, about 10 pulses, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add ¼ cup orange juice and pulse briefly to combine. Transfer mixture to bowl and stir in ½ cup oil. Cover and let sit at room temperature until ready to serve.
  3. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Remove roast from brine, pat dry with paper towels, and tie at 1-inch intervals with kitchen twine. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown roast on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes; transfer to plate.
  4. Add onion and fennel stalks to fat left in pot and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in orange zest and remaining garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth and remaining 1 cup orange juice, scraping up any browned bits, and bring to simmer.
  5. Return roast and any accumulated juices to pot, cover, and transfer to oven. Cook until pork registers 140 degrees, 30 to 50 minutes, flipping pork halfway through cooking. Remove pot from oven. Transfer roast to carving board, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest while finishing couscous.
  6. Strain cooking liquid through fine-mesh strainer into fat separator and let settle for 5 minutes; discard solids. Wipe pot clean with paper towels. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in now-empty pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add fennel bulb pieces and ½ teaspoon salt and cook until fennel is softened and lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Off heat, stir in couscous, apricots, and 1½ cups defatted cooking liquid. Cover and let sit until liquid is fully absorbed and grains are tender, about 7 minutes. Add fennel fronds and fluff couscous with fork to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Discard twine and slice pork into ¼-inch-thick slices. Serve with couscous, passing herb sauce separately.

Leave A Reply

%d bloggers like this: