Porc a L’Orange


cup unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
pork loin, boneless and trimmed of fat, 2 1/2 to 3 pounds
carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
bay leaf
cup Cognac or other high-quality brandy
cup dry white wine
Salt and freshly ground pepper


In a small saucepan over very low heat, melt the butter, watching carefully so it does not burn.  Remove from the heat and let stand for a minute to settle, then carefully skim off the foam from the top and discard.  Pour the remaining yellow liquid into a cup, leaving the milky solids behind in the pan.  The clear yellow liquid is clarified butter.  Discard the milky solids.


Transfer the clarified butter to a heavy 4 quart Dutch oven just large enough to hold the meat easily.  Place over medium heat, and, when hot, add the pork and brown well on all sides, 8-10 minutes total.  Transfer to a plate.


Add the carrots to the saucepan over medium heat and toss until lightly browned, 2-3 minutes.  Add the thyme and bay leaf and return the meat to the saucepan.  Pour the brandy into a ladle, heat over a burner on the stove and ignite carefully with a match away from the burner.  Pour over the meat.  When the flames die down, pour the wine over the meat as well and add salt and pepper to taste.  Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and simmer until the meat is very tender, about 2 hours.  Remove the pork from the pan and set aside on a plate.  Keep warm.  Discard the bay leaf.


Using a large spoon, skim the fat from the meat juices and discard.  Bring the juices to a boil over high heat and boil until reduced to about 1 cup.  Meanwhile, using a zester, remove the zest from 1 orange in fine shreds.  Bring a small saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil, add the zest strips and boil for 2 minutes.  Drain well.  Squeeze the juice from the orange, and add to the reduced juices along with the drained zest.  Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes to blend the flavors.


Cut the remaining 2 oranges into slices 1/4 inch thick.  Arrange around the rim of a warmed serving platter.  Place the pork in the center and pour the sauce over it.  Carve and serve. 


Serves 4 to 6.