No dinner party is complete without a showcase dish. And this pork roast was just that dish. Pork roast with a fruit stuffing, wrapped in bacon and drizzled with a port wine sauce.
Don’t be intimidated by this recipe, as it looks far more difficult than it actually is. It’s not a super speedy recipe, but I think any of my dinner party guests would agree with me in saying that it was well worth the wait.
First I made the filling. Chop dried apricots and prunes into small squares. Add them to a small saucepan with some of the port and cover. Let it simmer for five minutes and then sit off the heat for another 10 minutes to absorb the liquid, all the while covered.
In a large skillet or dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and shallot to the butter and saute until softened, about five minutes. Then add the chopped apple, along with some salt and pepper and let it cook for another five minutes, until the apple is tender.
Add the port and fruit mixture to the onion and apple mixture and mix thoroughly. Let this mixture cool before stuffing it into the pork roast.
I bought a very large boneless pork loin roast and cut it into three manageable chunks. Then cut a pocket through the middle of the roast – slicing a 1 1/2 inch slice through the center of the roast lengthwise, then cutting a slit up and down to make a cross shape which made the pocket expandable.
I salted and peppered the roast on all sides and once the stuffing was cool, I stuffed it into the pocket I had just made. I got in there with my spoon and got as much stuffing as I could fit into each of the pieces. Be aware that it is a little messy and the filling won’t all stay inside. Save the leftover stuffing for later to make a sauce to pour over the top.
Once the roast is stuffed, place it fat side down in the baking dish (do as I say, not as you can see I did in my photos) and lay a few slices of bacon across the roast. Bacon makes most things better! Especially pork.
Place the roast into a preheated oven. It starts off quite hot – up to 500° F/260° C for 20 minutes, before it’s turned down to 325° F/160° C. Make sure you place the pan into the center of the oven, or you too may have smoke billowing through your house.
Let it roast for about 1 1/2 hours before checking it with a meat thermometer.
After pulling it out of the oven, let it rest under a foil tent for 15 minutes before slicing it up. This allows the juices to redistribute themselves throughout the meat, so you can avoid having a dry roast.
While the roast is resting, you can proceed with the directions in the recipe for the sauce OR you can do as I did and just pour the rest of the bottle of port into the sauce pan with the leftover stuffing and let it cook down and thicken up a bit. It is wonderful poured over the slices of pork roast. I dished it up into a gravy boat and placed it on the table for people to add as desired.
Once the pork has rested for at least 15 minutes, you can carve the roast into thick slices and place on a large serving platter and serve to your very hungry dinner guests.
Kate, the master carver
Pork Roast with Winter Fruits and Port Sauce
(adapted from Gourmet | December 2008)
by Ruth Cousineau
Yield: Makes 8 servings
1/4 pound California dried apricots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 pound pitted prunes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2/3 cup ruby Port
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small shallot, finely chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tart apple such as Granny Smith, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 (6-pound) pork loin roast, at room temperature 1 hour
9 or 10 bacon slices
For port sauce (optional):
1/2 cup ruby Port
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups water, divided
2 teaspoons arrowroot
Simmer apricots, prunes, and Port in a small heavy saucepan, covered, 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes.
Cook onion and shallot in butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add apple and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until apple is just tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in apricot mixture and cool.
Stuff and roast pork:
Preheat oven to 500°F with rack in middle.
Make a pocket in center of roast by making a horizontal 1 1/2-inch-wide cut into 1 end of roast with a long thin knife, repeating from opposite end so pocket runs all the way through. Then make a vertical cut through center (forming a cross) to widen pocket. Push about 1 cup stuffing into pocket using a long-handled wooden spoon (you may need to stuff from both sides if roast is long). Reserve remaining stuffing for sauce.
Season roast with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and put in a large flameproof roasting pan. Wrap with bacon, tucking ends under roast. Roast pork 20 minutes, then reduce oven to 325°F and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted 2 inches into center of roast registers 155°F, 1 1/2 hours total.
Transfer roast to a cutting board, reserving pan, and let stand, loosely covered with foil, 15 to 20 minutes. (Temperature of meat will rise to about 160°F; meat will be slightly pink.)
Make sauce (optional):
Skim fat from pan drippings and reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons fat. Straddle pan across 2 burners and add Port to drippings, then deglaze pan by boiling over high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, 1 minute. Strain pan juices through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding solids.
Cook shallot in reserved fat in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in pan juices, 1 1/4 cups water, and reserved fruit stuffing and bring to a simmer. Whisk together arrowroot and remaining 1/4 cup water until smooth, then whisk into sauce with any juices from cutting board.
Simmer sauce, whisking occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Carve roast into thick slices, serve with sauce.
Thanks again to Kyle Krohn for the great photos!!