Easter dinner calls for a roast – whether it be ham, lamb or pork. Listening to the gentle sputter of meat in the oven and inhaling the mouth-watering aroma that drifts through the house somehow make the meal feel suitable for a holiday celebration.

I love pork in any form, and having a good reason to roast a loin of pork is a blessing.

Start the meal with baby radishes served with softened sweet butter and sea salt, and purchased cheese biscuits.

Round out the main course with Fluffy Scallion Mashed Potatoes, 2-inch-long carrots and asparagus steamed and tossed with butter.

Something glamorous such as a bakery strawberry tart would be a perfect finish.

Roast Pork Loin with Cider-Sage Gravy


After selecting your roast in the meat case, ask the butcher to use his band saw to cut through the chine bone of the loin to facilitate carving.

Serves 6

1 bone-in loin (NOT tenderloin) of pork, about 5 pounds (see headnote)

2 tablespoons coarse-grain mustard

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage or 2 teaspoons crumbled dried leaf sage, plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 2 teaspoons dried to finish the gravy


1 to 2 tablespoons butter, as needed

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1½ cups apple cider or apple juice

2 cups chicken or beef broth

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


In a small dish, stir together the mustard, oil and 2 tablespoons of fresh sage. Spread paste all over the pork loin and let sit at room temperature for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the roast, fat side up, on a rack in a shallow metal roasting pan, place in the preheated oven and immediately reduce temperature to 325 degrees.

Roast for 20 to 25 minutes per pound, until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 150 degrees.

Remove to a platter, cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes while making the gravy.

Place roasting pan with drippings on a stove burner. You should have 3 tablespoons of fat in the pan; if not, add butter to make up the difference. Sprinkle flour over the drippings and cook over medium heat, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the cider and broth and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve browned bits that cling to the pan. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons fresh sage and the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Carve the meat, cutting down between the bones. Stir any accumulated juices into the gravy and pass the gravy in a sauce boat at the table.


Fluffy Scallion Mashed Potatoes

I’ve had fairly good luck making mashed potatoes ahead, holding them for a few hours at room temperature, and then reheating in the microwave.

Serves 6

3 pounds russet or all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks

6 tablespoons butter

Approximately 1 cup milk or light cream


½ cup thinly sliced scallions or ¼ cup snipped chives

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water until they are very tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, return to the pot and place over low heat for about 1 minute until potatoes are thoroughly dry. Transfer to a large bowl or leave them in the saucepan to mash.

Mash the potatoes with a ricer, potato masher or electric mixer. Add butter and most of the milk and mash until smooth, adding as much more milk as is necessary to make a smooth, fluffy puree. Stir in scallions and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or let cool to room temperature and reheat in a microwave.

Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently “Lobster!” (Storey, 2012). She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula.


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