To Chirino tis Annas

Oven-Baked Pork Loin with Olive Oil, Garlic, Thyme and Oregano

THIS IS my sister Anna’s signature dish, the one she always bakes for parties. We usually make it with meat we buy on Kea, the island my mother comes from, which is famous for its tasty pork and veal. The meat cooks in its own juices, and there is plenty of delicious sauce at the end of cooking. If you like, you can carefully remove the fat from the surface before serving.

In the old days, pieces of meat in covered pots were probably taken to a communal oven for baking or baked on special occasions in the wood-burning bread oven of the house. Since wood is not plentiful on the bare Greek islands, these ovens were fired only once a week to bake bread, then other foods were cooked in the cooling oven after the bread was removed.

Serve with Roasted Potatoes with Garlic, Lemon and Oregano. Freeze any leftover sauce to use with pasta.

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  • 4–5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, crumbled (see Note)
  • 1–2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper or pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 4-to-5-pound boneless pork loin roast or top leg (fresh ham), trimmed of most fat


In a small bowl, combine the oil, garlic, thyme, oregano, pepper or pepper flakes and salt. Rub the garlic mixture all over the pork. Place the pork in a Dutch oven just large enough to hold it snugly, cover with aluminum foil and then the lid and refrigerate overnight, or up to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Remove the aluminum foil from the Dutch oven, replace the lid and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and bake for 1 hour more, basting twice with the pan juices. Uncover, baste again and bake, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes more, or until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 155 to 165°F.

Remove the pork from the oven, cover and let rest for 1 hour to develop the flavors. Reheat in a 375°F oven for about 20 minutes and serve.