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Portuguese Baked Pork Loin

Contributed By: Grace | See all of Grace's recipes
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Active Time:  15 Minutes
Total Time:  2 Hours 30 Minutes
Portuguese recipe, normally for Sunday Lunch or on those days where sweating over a stove is not the most appealing way to spend your day off, or your mom draggs you to Church-or-no-lunch-days. North of Portugal uses chestnuts instead of potatoes.
Pork Loin – Whole (about 2 or 3 slices per guest – approx. 1/2” thick)
Small red potatoes – peeled & whole (about 2 or 3 per guest)
2 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves - peeled and sliced
2 or 3 sprigs of Italian parsley - chopped
1 Ripe tomato - chopped
1 Onion – chopped
½ Cup of extra virgin olive oil
3 or 4 Slices of bacon – roughly chopped
Salt to taste
Red crushed pepper to taste (optional)
Paprika (enough to sprinkle generously over top)
1/3 tsp of cumin
½ tsp of ground cloves (or 3 or 4 whole cloves)
Enough good-drinking non-sweet wine to cover ¾ of meat hight (red or white…even beer can be used)
Baking pan (large enough to loosely accommodate loin)
Pre-heat oven at 450 degrees.

In the bottom of pan put onion, garlic, parsley, bay leaves, olive oil and bacon. Arrange loin in pan and surround it with the peeled potatoes. Sprinkle rest of ingredients over meat and potatoes, pour liquid of choice over it all (don’t worry if not all “powders” get washed down), cover with aluminum foil and bake at 450 degrees for about 1 hr. Turn meat over, drop oven temperature to 350 degrees and let it cook for another 30 min. or so. Verify salt/taste (adjust if necessary & remember that it’s always easier to deal with not enough salt than too salty), turn meat over again and let it finish cook for another 30min. or so. Remove Aluminum, let it get nice and golden (potatoes with a touch of darker brown is great) and serve immediately.

Traditionally, this dish is served in the pan used to cook it and with white garlic rice and a salad on the side, or the rice and a vegetable dish. Juices are the gravy used and in its simple form. Garlic rice is also very simple. Take 4 or 5 large cloves of chopped garlic, sauté until golden in olive oil, add water according to amount of rice needed, season with salt and cook to desired tenderness. Sometimes a cube or two of Knorr chicken flavor is also added, please add Knorr and verify taste before adding salt…or, even simpler, use chicken stock instead of water.

The beauty of this recipe? It works regardless if it's pork, chicken or beef. Use the same concept and be adventurous. Beef requires more time so make sure the meat is covered with liquid of choice (no need to cover the potatoes). It also cannot be served rare since ingredients really need to blend well together. If you are a pea-lover, take it a step it with Chicken and between the nooks and cranies or the potatoes add peas & carrots. YUMMY!

Note - Keep an eye out on the juices - ovens, altitude and the every-so-often forgetfulness can dry it all up. Juices should still end up about 1/2" high...or you can quickly add a can of "Au Jus" gravy (even chicken stock in a pinch will work) but add it already hot to prevent cooling. Either way, it must be allowed enough time to blend well and you may have to mix it all around - be careful so that meat and/or potatoes do not disintegrate.

Date Added: 04/13/2010
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