For the regal—and expensive—pork crown roast, F&W Test Kitchen Associate Melissa Rubel Jacobson replaced the run-of-the-mill garlic-herb coating with a smoky harissa version. "I love the way it turns from a paste to a crispy crust," she says.
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One 8 1/2-pound crown roast pork, tied, bones frenched
7 dried New Mexico or pasilla chiles (1 1/2 ounces), stemmed and seeded
2 dried ancho chiles ( 1/2 ounce), stemmed and seeded
5 large garlic cloves, 4 cloves thinly sliced
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
One 1 1/4-pound loaf seeded rye bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
8 scallions, sliced crosswise into thirds and thinly sliced lengthwise
Remove the pork from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, cover the chiles with hot water. Let stand until softened, about 15 minutes.
Transfer the chiles and 1/2 cup of their soaking liquid to a blender. Add the whole garlic clove, 6 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt and the coriander and caraway. Blend until smooth. Transfer the harissa to a small bowl.
Spread the rye-bread cubes on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for 12 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Transfer the bread cubes to a large bowl. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 6 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the scallions and the sliced garlic and cook over moderately high heat until the garlic is lightly golden, about 4 minutes. Add the mixture to the bread cubes and toss; add the apricots, raisins and chicken broth, season with salt and pepper and toss again. Transfer the dressing to an 8 1/2-by-11-inch baking dish and cover with foil.
Increase the oven temperature to 425°. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place the pork on the baking sheet and season generously inside and out with salt and pepper. Roast the pork for 30 minutes or until the outside begins to brown. Spread 1 cup of the harissa all over the roast. Reduce the oven temperature to 350° and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes longer, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the roast reaches 145°. Remove from the oven and let the roast rest on the baking sheet for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, bake the stuffing in the oven for 15 minutes, until warmed through.
Preheat the broiler. Transfer the roast to a cutting board. Drizzle any pork juices from the baking sheet over the dressing. Broil until crisp on top, about 2 minutes.
Slice the pork between the ribs and serve with the dressing. Drizzle with any juices left on the cutting board. Pass the remaining harissa at the table.
The harissa can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
This crown roast deserves a wine as spicy and intense as its harissa crust. Try a Zinfandel from older vines.
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