It’s the beginning of  November and we are just a few weeks away from Thanksgiving, which means the foodie blogosphere is abuzz with all things Thanksgiving related. There are hundreds of recipes for turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sides, and all manner of desserts, but you don’t see a whole lot about alternatives for turkey. Sure they are out there, but they are certainly overshadowed by the number of turkey recipes available.

I know that there are people out there that won’t be eating turkey for Thanksgiving. Maybe you have a dislike for turkey, which I, personally, can’t understand. To me a perfectly cooked turkey is a delight and, in our house, occasionally roast one up at other times of the year just for the heck of it. Maybe you, or someone in your family, has an allergy. Or maybe last year’s turkey turned out to be a fiasco and you just prefer something a little more forgiving. No matter what the reason, you’re out looking for an alternative centerpiece to your Thanksgiving dinner, one that will dazzle your guests and earn you their praise and admiration. Hopefully, this recipe will fit the bill.

Roast Pork with Roasted Vegetables
serves 6-8

2 1/2 – 3 pound Pork Loin, boneless
3 heads Fennel
1 pound Asparagus
1 medium Red Onion, peeled
1 medium Yellow Onion, peeled
7 cloves Garlic, peeled
1/4 cup Sage, fresh, very finely minced
1/2 cup Olive oil, divided
Pepper, freshly ground

Preheat your oven to 400°F.

Cut the fennel in half, through the longer side. Cut each half into thirds, trying to keep a bit of the core attached to each piece. Place in a bowl. Discard the lower, fiberous end of the asparagus and then cut into 1″ long pieces. Toss into the bowl along with the fennel. Slice both onions into 1/2″ thick rings and thinly slice 4 of the cloves of garlic, adding to the other vegetables. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil and toss to coat. Season generously with salt and pepper and pour into a roasting pan.

Season the pork loin with salt and pepper. Finely mince the remaining 3 cloves of garlic and mix with the sage and remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil. Rub this mixture onto the pork loin then place the pork loin on top of the vegetables, in the roasting pan. Place a meat thermometer into the pork loin ensuring that the probe is well centered. Place the roasting pan in the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 350°F.

Here, at home, my family likes our pork a little pink in the middle so I would remove my roast when the thermometer hits 145°F. If you are someone what still prefers your pork fully cooked pull the roast out when it hits 155-160°F. Any higher and you run the risk of dry, overcooked pork. This will take approximately 60-90 minutes, depending on your oven and how done you want your pork.

When done, remove the pork from the roasting pan to your cutting board and cover with foil. Give the vegetables a good stir and return to the oven and turn the heat up to 425°. Allow the pork to rest for 15 minutes, then slice into 1/4″ slices. Place on the center of a large platter, remove the vegetables from the oven and arrange around the pork.