This Week I watched and took photos while Elizabeth cooked up the most delicious pork roast that I have ever tasted! Along with the roast came two fantastic vegetable dishes topped off by a Raspberry Chocolate Torte! This is a great holiday meal; lots of flavor and gorgeous on the plate. Here we go!
Pork Roast with Winter Fruits and Port Sauce
¼ lb dried apricots, cut into ½-inch pieces
¼ lb pitted prunes, cut into ½-inch pieces
2/3 c Ruby Port
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small shallot, finely chopped
¾ stick unsalted butter
1 tart apple – Granny Smith, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
1 (6-lb) bone-in pork loin roast (10 ribs), frenched, at room temperature 1 hour
9 or 10 bacon slices
1c Ruby Port
2 small shallots, finely chopped
3 c water, divided
4 t arrowroot (or flour)
Simmer apricots, prunes, and Port in a small heavy saucepan, covered, 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 10 min.
Cook onion and shallot in butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4-5 minutes. Add apple and ½ t 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 ½-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 ½ t salt and ½ t pepper and put in a large roasting pan. Wrap with bacon, between rib bones, tucking ends under roast. Roast pork 20 minutes, then reduce oven to 325˚F and roast until thermometer inserted 2 inches into center of roast ( do not touch bone or stuffing) registers 150˚F – 155˚F, 1 ¼ – 1½ hours total. Make sure not to overcook!
Transfer roast to a cutting board (one that can catch the drippings), reserving pan, and let stand, loosely covered with foil, 15 to 20 minutes (Temperature of meat will rise to about 160˚F, meat should be slightly pink).
Skim fat from pan drippings and reserve 3 T fat. Straddle roasting 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, 2 1/2 cups water, and reserved fruit stuffing and bring to a simmer. Whisk together arrowroot or flour and remaining ½ c 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 s/p.
Carve roast into chops by cutting between ribs, then serve with sauce.
Sauteed Haricots Verts, Red Bell Peppers, and Pine Nuts
2 lbs haricots verts (slender green beans), trimmed
1 ½ T olive oil
2 medium-size red peppers, seeded, cut into ½-inch dice, approximately 2 cups
3 T butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ c pine nuts, toasted
Cook green beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes – be sure not to overcook! Drain; rinse with cold water to cool quickly and drain again.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add peppers; saute΄ until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add butter to same skillet; melt. Add garlic; saute΄ until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add green beans. Saute΄ until heated through, about 5 minutes. Mix in nuts; season with s/p. Transfer to bowl.
Note: The key to this recipe is to make sure you don’t overcook greens or red pepper – better to undercook!
Roasted Potatoes, Butternut Squash with Bacon, Onions, and Sage
This recipe has a Tuscan feel to it.
1 lb. thick-cut bacon slices, cut crosswise into ¼-inch-thick strips
5 lbs assorted baby potatoes such as red, purple,
white-skinned, and rinsed, dried, halved
1 lb butternut squash, cut into cubes
2 large red onions, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
3/4 c small torn pieces of fresh sage leaves (about 2 bunches)
2 T (1/4 stick) butter, melted
Preheat oven 375˚F. Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat ‘til crisp and golden. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Reserve 4 T drippings from skillet.
Combine potatoes, squash, onions, ½ c torn sage leaves, melted butter, and reserved 4 T bacon drippings in very large bowl. Sprinkle generously with salt and fresh pepper. Toss to coat. Spread potato mixture evenly on large, edged cookie sheet (approx 18x12x1). Roast 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Do Ahead: Can be made 2 or so hours ahead. Let stand on baking sheet at room temperature.
Increase oven temperature to 400˚F. Stir bacon into potato mixture and continue to roast until potatoes are tender and beginning to brown, about 15 minutes longer. Transfer mixture to large serving bowl. Season to taste with more salt and pepper. Sprinkle with remaining sage leaves and serve.
Okay! That’s it for now…I’m under a little time pressure, so please excuse any typos. I will have to get the Chocolate Raspberry Torte recipe to you tomorrow or the next day!
Robin and Elizabeth