Roasting reminders (recipe: Roast Pork & Caramelized Balsamic Onions)

A beautiful roast can be the highlight of a dinner, but what about when it goes wrong? There’s just no ‘fixing’ an overcooked, dried out hunk-o-meat, so listen up to today’s reminders on roasting basics!

Preparing a roast is simple enough, there’s no finicky prep because it arrives from the butcher trussed, tied, and oven-ready. Still, much like my Perfect Roast Turkey or Chicken, there are certain steps to take to ensure a satisfactory result.

Roasting meat is an art akin to baking bread or shaping pasta. The final product should yield a evenly-browned, well-crusted exterior, and a moist and tender center.

The lovely cookbook, Sunday Roasts: A Year’s Worth of Mouthwatering Roasts, from Old-Fashioned Pot Roasts to Glorious Turkeys, and Legs of Lamb offers some excellent tips for roasting than can be applied to many types of roasts. The author, Betty Rosbottom, suggests making a roast for Sunday dinner because it is a day when “…many cooks have a few free hours at home…and those leftovers are perfect for the rest of the week.”

I quite agree. Here are a few more tips from Sunday Roasts.

Make friends with your butcher -or at least acquaintances. Request your meat to be cut fresh and let him know how many people you are serving. I sometimes call ahead and make my request so my meat is packaged and waiting for me. I always take a look at the cut before I buy it though!

Invest in a good roasting pan, ideally a flameproof one so they can be used on the stove-top for making an accompanying sauce. I use a 14-inch Oval Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron Pan for most of my roasts. I received it second-hand and it still has a long life of roasting ahead.

Use an instant-read meat thermometer for testing the roast’s internal temperature. We all want to avoid overcooking a roast, right?  I recommend this Maverick Electronic Thermometer and Timer that has multiple customizable settings for 15 different types of meat. It also is magnetized and doubles as a handy timer on my fridge door.

Bring the roast to room temperature before roasting and preheat the oven.  Both actions help ensure that the roast is cooked evenly.

Let the roast rest before carving. This is crucial. I say a minimum of five minutes and up to half an hour of resting time, depending on the size of the roast and the variety of meat. A roast chicken, for example, can rest much longer without overcooking than a roast beef.

Save the pan juices for the sauce. This also goes for any juices that accumulate while the roast is resting. My standard sauce is pan juices + a splash of wine + a pat of butter whisked it. That’s it, that’s all.

Carve with a sharp knife. Please.

Balsamic-Glazed Roast Pork with Caramelized Onions
5.0 from 3 reviews
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves/Yield: 6
Five ingredients make up this easy and delicious roast pork dinner. Tuck the leftovers -onions and all- into sandwiches and don't forget the mustard. If your roast is quite lean, wrap the pork roast in a few strips of bacon.
  • 2.5 lb boneless pork loin, trimmed and tied
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 large sweet onions, such as Vidalia
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 250ml/1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • (optional: 3-5 bacon strips)
  1. Preheat oven to 400F and lightly grease a roasting pan.
  2. Pat the pork roast dry with paper towel and season all over with salt and pepper. Place in the roasting pan and wrap with bacon, if using.
  3. Place in the center of the oven and roast for 25 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, chop onions into 1-inch wedges, leaving the root ends intact.Toss onions with olive oil and a little more salt and pepper.
  5. Remove roast from oven and add the onions to roasting pan, arranging them around the roast.
  6. Pour the balsamic vinegar over the roast and the onions and return the pan to the oven.
  7. Continue to cook the roast for another ten to 15 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the roast reads 150F. Baste the roast with the balsamic a few times during this final cooking process.
  8. Remove the pan from the oven and tent roast loosely with foil. Let rest for 5 minutes, then remove butcher's twine and carve.
  9. Serve with caramelized onions on the side.
Don't worry if your roast has reached 150F before the onions are quite finished cooking. Simply remove the roast from the pan and allow to rest on a serving platter while the onions continue to cook in the pan and the balsamic reduces to a thick sauce.

Poultry, beef, leg of lamb? What is a favorite roast dinner in your home?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. Next time we have roast pork I’m definitely going to try this. Thank you. It would be un-Australian if I didn’t say roast lamb was our favourite. Peppered with slivers of fresh garlic, rubbed down with olive oil and coarse sea salt and sitting on a bed of fresh rosemary. Yum!!!!!

  2. At first I thought it was squid, lol. It looks so delicious I cant wait to cook one

  3. Thanks for sharing your pan. I got a non-stick one from the wedding registry, long before I really knew what I should be cooking with. It needs to be replaced so I’ll keep my eyes open for the Le Crueset.

  4. I have a chicken in the freezer just waiting to be roasted. Thanks for the tips.

  5. I love a simple roasted chicken. It is one of my favorites. This looks great though!

  6. The bacon should definitely not be optional – looks fantastic! :)

  7. Wonderful tips! Thanks for sharing.

  8. Definitely bookmarking this post – great advice! This roast looks AMAZING too!

  9. I have that same Le Creuset pan! It’s a keeper for sure.

  10. I do love roast lamb, but I think that your recipe may be my new favorite! I can’t wait to spoil my family with it this week–thank you!

  11. Looks succulent and delicious! Great tips!

  12. Oh, that looks so good! I actually have a pork roast ready to go, so I think I will try this tonight or tomorrow.

    I’m sneaking out for lunch a little early because this is making me so hungry!

  13. Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies says:

    It was really unfair to get this in my mailbox at the crack of dawn this morning when I had to go for fasting blood tests. Love all the advice in this post, Aimee!

  14. Saving the juices for the sauce is the best part of the roast in my opinion! I am still roast-challenged though, mostly because I like leaving that part up to other people while I make the bread, salad, and desserts. One of these days I’m going to have to buck up and do it myself

  15. Great tips, Aimee – I totally made friends with my butcher!

  16. I have to admit, I am not one to roast. I think once I tried it with a whole chicken, and while it tasted good, I realized I’m more of a “chicken breast” kinda gal.

    It’s unfortunate because I loooove when my mom slow-cooks and roasts anything. Perhaps I need to put on a brave face and tackle this roasting business one more time before writing it off!

  17. I’m leaving to go defrost a pork roast now. This is my kind of meal. Easy and with simple ingredients I just love.

  18. Thanks for the reminders and the tips provided here when roasting.. I used to roast a lot even before.. Thanks for the help..

  19. Looks delish! Question – why can’t you put the onions in the same time if there is a chance they won’t be cooked when roast is? Curious…

  20. This looks incredible. You had me at pork but balsamic and onions too? Wowie!

  21. The noise that you just heard was me falling out of my chair at work. Yowza, that’s a pretty piece of pork, love the flavors!

  22. I’ve made this 2 times already. Each time a hit. I usually pan flash saute green beans with garlic and white pepper. Steam red potatoes in butter, garlic and lemon topped with just a bit of parmagiano regiano. Besides salad what other sides have worked for others ? I would be interested in suggestions for sides if anyone has them.

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