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!

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