Pork Loin with Fennel and Thyme Recipe

Cook this cut right, and you’ll have a pork loin full of great flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture, not to mention a salt rub fit for future dishes.

| Fall 2019

Photo by Getty Images/bhofack2

Don’t overcook this cut. Use carefully sourced meat and an instant-read thermometer for best results. Especially with the loin, great flavor and texture depend on perfectly cooked meat. The fennel-thyme salt is great for leg of lamb, too. Yields 4 servings.


  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless pork loin
  • 3 small cloves garlic, slivered
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons crushed fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Use a thin knife to make 1/2-inch-deep incisions, about 1-1⁄2 inches apart, all around the loin. Slide a single garlic sliver into each cut. Don’t worry if any slivers stick out of the loin, or if you have any leftover slices.
  3. Coat the entire loin with the oil.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the fennel, thyme, and salt. Pat the loin with a thick coating of the spice mixture on all sides, including the ends.
  5. Place the loin in a roasting pan. Roast for 45 minutes, or until an instant thermometer registers an internal temperature of 145 F.
  6. Let the loin rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing. The meat should be light pink, not white.

NOTE: If you want to make a sauce, remove the loin, and place the roasting pan on the stovetop over high heat. Add 1/2 cup chicken stock, and scrape up the drippings, deglazing the pan. Reduce the heat to low, and cook to reduce and concentrate the flavor of the sauce. Or, you can make the sauce and save it for another use, such as enriching a future soup or serving with a different cut of meat, in which case you can freeze it in an airtight container for up to 1 month. If you don’t want to make a sauce, but you want to save the drippings for a future use, scrape them into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Discover more delicious recipes in Recipe-Ready Refrigerator Staples.


Ronna Welsh is the owner of Purple Kale Kitchenworks, a cooking school in New York, where she teaches simple yet creative cooking strategies. These recipes are printed with permission from her book The Nimble Cook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).



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