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Maple – Not Just For Breakfast Anymore January 12, 2010

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Freezer Meals, random stuff.

I love maple syrup.  While I don’t generally go for “sweets,” maple is in a whole different category.  Yes, it’s almost pure sugar.  But it’s got a distinct flavor that sets it apart and makes it, well, tastier than other sweet stuff.

Many years ago (before Surly Boy was born), I knew an man who made his own maple syrup every year and would gift us with a quart of syrup.  This guy, back then, had to have been 75 years old (at least!), and late every winter (or early spring – in upstate NY, it’s about the same thing!), he would pack up his tent, sleeping bag, a few cases of beer, and his dog and head for the woods beyond his house for a couple of weeks of camping out – boiling the maple sap in several pots over an open campfire until it became actual syrup.  In all the years since like it, I’ve never had anything – the sweet syrup with a hint of smokiness was absolutely incredible!

Kenny’s long gone now, I’m sure, and we’re left with commercially produced maple syrup, which, while certainly tasty enough, just doesn’t have the amazing flavor – or the memories of hiking up that hill into the woods to keep the old man company during the interminable sap-boiling.

Anyway, I was thrilled, while clearing out some old recipes, to stumble across a favorite from the days when we ran our meal-prep business . . . and you know, we just happened to have a small pork loin in the freezer, so why not throw together a Maple-Glazed Pork Roast?


The first thing we did was we took the pork roast  (about 2 pounds or so) and, essentially rubbed it with some salt and pepper – not much, just a half teaspoon of each.  (If you’re prepping this ahead for the freezer, just season the pork with the S&P, and maybe a Tablespoon or so of vegetable oil, then shove it in a freezer bag.)


The next step is to create the glaze – combine (in a measuring cup if you’re cooking now, or in a baggie or something small and freezable if you’re cooking later) the following:

  • ½ cup maple syrup (do NOT use the fake stuff!)
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. each ground cloves and cayenne pepper

Don’t worry – a quarter teaspoon isn’t much – it’s just enough!

Set the mixture aside.  If you’re freezing, I like to take the bag with the pork and the bag with the glaze, and bundle them together in another bag to keep them together – you can always reuse the outer bag.

PhotobucketWhen it’s time to cook, start by preheating your oven to 325°.

In an oven-safe pan (I like my big 10-inch non-stick saute pan) (you’ll want non-stick – trust me!), start out by browning your (completely thawed) roast.  You may or may not need to add a bit more oil, but go easy – what’s in the pan will eventually be what’s in your glaze.


Remove the meat from the pan – no, it’s not cooked through, but it should be nicely browned – and set it aside.

Now, add the maple syrup-spice mixture to the hot pan – it’s going to sizzle! but that’s OK – just let it cook down a bit, about half a minute or so.

Off heat, return the roast to the pan and turn to cover with the maple-spice glaze.


Once the roast is coated, you may (or may not) choose to insert a probe thermometer – it’s up to you.


Bake, uncovered, until the internal temperature of your roast reaches 150° – about 1.5-2 hours,  depending on the size of the roast, turning occasionally (I go with every half hour).

Be sure to keep an eye on the meat, though – you don’t want to overcook it.  Pork loin is very lean, which is good for the waistline, but being so lean, it does tend to dry out easily, and really, who wants another dry pork roast?


Once your roast reaches its proper internal temperature, carefully transfer it to a cutting board pour the glaze from the pan over it, tent with foil and let rest 10-20 minutes (or, as in our case, until the rice was done).

And that’s it – carve, serve and enjoy!

And leftovers (if there are any) make beautiful sandwiches for lunch the next day.  Or breakfast. Or a snack later on that evening. . . um, you might want to grab them before anyone else gets ’em.  I’m just saying.



1. Tracie - January 12, 2010

Ooh, I love maple! Canada is the only place I’ve traveled and while there I developed a fondness for all things maple. I also love pork. So this sounds dee-licious!

Thanks, Tracie – it’s one of our favorites!

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