easter dinner

Above:  The pork roast that I served for Christmas 2012–the rib bones make for an impressive presentation; photo by dthoskins

I made this pork roast for Christmas and it was a total hit, so I thought I would share this recipe and a few side recipes for those of you who might be feeling like making something a little different this Easter.  Enjoy!

The following recipe is my slightly modified version of this recipe originally from epicurious.com:

Stuffed Pork Roast with Dried Fruits and Port Wine Sauce

Ingredients

For stuffing:

  • 1/2 cup California dried apricots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup figs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup mixed dried berries (e.g. cherries, cranberries, and raisins)
  • 2/3 cup ruby Port
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 tart apple such as Granny Smith, peeled and cut into      1/2-inch pieces

For roast:

  • 1 (6-pound) bone-in pork loin roast (10 ribs), frenched  (very important that your butcher does this correctly or you will have trouble carving at serving time), at room temperature 1 hour
  • 9 or 10 bacon slices (optional)

For port sauce:

  • 1/2 cup ruby Port
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 2 teaspoons flour

Preparation

Make stuffing:
Simmer dried fruits 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 12-inch heavy skillet 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 port 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.

Optional: Wrap with bacon, between rib bones, 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 (do not touch bone or stuffing) registers 155°F, 1 1/4 to 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:
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 flour 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 chops by cutting between ribs, then serve with sauce.

Side Dish: Kale with Toasted Pecans

photo by dthoskins

Here is another modified version a favorite side dish from epicurious.com which uses walnuts instead of pecans.  Click here for the original recipe.  Either way, this is a wonderful accompaniment to the pork roast:

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds kale, stems and center ribs discarded
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (3 1/2 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Preparation

Tear kale into large pieces, then cook in a large pot of well-salted boiling water, uncovered, until tender, about 6 minutes. Drain kale, and, when cool enough to handle, press out excess liquid.

Cook pecans in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until pale golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Add kale and salt and pepper to taste and cook, tossing, until heated through.

Serve kale warm or at room temperature.

Side Dish: Yorkshire Puddings

For your grand finale these Yorkshire Puddings are sure to make this Easter dinner unforgettable.  Click the picture for the recipe.

photo by dthoskins

Happy Easter!

easter revisited

These are a few of our favorite Easter things:

Polyvore by dthoskins

  • Create gorgeous Easter eggs with this fun and easy silk-tie dying method.
  • Simple Easter centerpiece for your table
  • Adding white back into your wardrobe for the spring
  • Delicious baked cheese blintzes to add to your Easter buffet
  • Good egg finds from unexpected places
  • Fabulous and sophisticated Easter looks, beyond the “Easter dress”

 

What are your favorite Easter things?

easy apricot butter & croissants

photo by dthoskins

This is one of my favorite “no-cook” recipes.  It is a huge crowd pleaser and it is so quick—perfect for an early breakfast meeting or a festive brunch (say Easter morning?)

Apricot Butter

What you’ll need:

  • 1 stick of room temperature unsalted butter (I like to leave mine out overnight, so it is very soft)
  • 2/3 cup of apricot preserves (I prefer Harry and David)
  • pinch of kosher salt
Step by Step:
1. Combine the ingredients in a stand mixer and mix with the paddle attachment until combined.
2.  Spoon into serving bowl.  I love a crisp white raminkin against the bright orange color.
You can also substitute any flavored jam  of your choice.  Raspberry and blackberry are particularly delicious.

I serve my apricot butter on store bought croissants that I have sliced and tossed in the oven on a baking sheet (350 degrees for 3-5 minutes, serve immediately).

 

Yum!

local portrait artist {christie bransom} & discount for readers

Remember the very talented Christie?  I wanted to share the incredibly adorable portrait that she completed for my family—my two-year old and the family dog, Derby.

Isn’t it great!  I can’t wait to get it framed and put on display.  Christie is very talented and she has graciously agreed to, once again, offer a discount to our readers!  Just mention the coupon below.

Don’t delay!  These portraits make great gifts for Mother’s Day!