Tangy Thanksgiving

The Junior League of Lafayette's new cookbook, Something to Talk About, features a Thanksgiving-themed menu of pork roast with satsuma sauce and all the trimmings.

Janice LeBlanc's fare for Thanksgiving dinner always features south Louisiana's citrus crop, and seasonal recipes are flavored with the taste of ripe satsumas. Her main dish is injected pork roast topped with a tangy satsuma sauce and accompanied by cranberry, satsuma and pecan relish. "Right about this time of the year, satsuma is perfect for pork roast," says LeBlanc. "It's a nice tangy, citrusy-sweet complement to something spicy and meaty."

While many families opt for the traditional turkey or ham, LeBlanc says the pork roast is a great choice for an additional meat to serve. "What's kind of neat about pork roast for Thanksgiving is if you walk through a supermarket, you see turkey and cranberry sauce, but traditionally people down here have more than one entrée for Thanksgiving," she says. "People in Acadiana will have two or three entrées, especially since we have so many members of extended family that come for a meal."

The roast gets its flavor from injections of seasoned vegetables like onions and garlic, in addition to the satsuma sauce. Although the recipe involves making the marinade, baking the pork and blending the sauce, some of the steps can be done in advance. "You might make your marinade a couple days ahead of time," suggests LeBlanc. (A purchased marinade for pork, with jalapeno and garlic flavors, can also be used.) The roast is injected throughout with about one cup of marinade, and LeBlanc recommends marinating overnight. "You're going to sear it in a roasting pan over the stove, and then put it in the oven," she says. "You just make the sauce in five minutes."

In addition to its culinary traditions, LeBlanc's family also puts up the Christmas tree every year on Thanksgiving afternoon and shares the cooking responsibilities. "Thanksgiving is the time that most of my family gets together," says LeBlanc. "One person does not cook all the food. Everybody's going to bring their specialty." Her brother brings the dressing, whether it be oyster or shrimp and merliton, and her sister-in-law is famous for her desserts. They also rotate Thanksgiving between her siblings' homes, and Janice will be hosting this year. "I'll be making the pork roast," she says.

Injected Pork Roast with Tangy Satsuma Sauce

Pork Roast
3- to 4-pound boneless pork loin, center rib or end roast, tied with string
1 cup Injectable Marinade (recipe follows)
1 teaspoon crushed marjoram leaves or 1/2 teaspoon ground marjoram
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon Cajun or Creole seasoning
2 teaspoons finely shredded satsuma zest
1/2 cup satsuma juice
1/4 cup packed brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the roast in a Dutch oven. Fill a meat injector with the marinade. Inject the marinade deep into the pork muscle, inserting the needle at 2-inch intervals until all the marinade has been used. Rub the roast with a mixture of the marjoram, dry mustard and Cajun seasoning. Bake, uncovered, for 90 minutes. Combine the satsuma zest, juice and brown sugar in a small bowl and mix well. Spoon over the roast. Roast for 30 minutes or to 155 degrees on a meat thermometer, basting with the pan juices every 10 minutes. Transfer the roast to a serving platter. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Serves 8-10.

Injectable Marinade
1 cup water
3/4 cup garlic juice
3/4 cup onion juice
1/3 cup hot red pepper sauce
1/4 cup Cajun or Creole seasoning
1/4 cup jalapeno chile juice
2 tablespoons Creole mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender, and process until smooth. Pour into a jar. Chill for at least two days before use.

Tangy Satsuma Sauce
Drippings from pork roast
1 envelope brown gravy mix
3/4 cup water
4 satsumas, peeled and sectioned

Place the Dutch oven with the drippings over medium heat. Dissolve the gravy mix in the water in a small bowl. Stir the drippings, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly. Adjust the seasonings. Stir in the satsuma sections. Cook until heated through. Serve the sauce ladled over the sliced pork.