Pork and fruit is a classic pairing around the world, but this dish gets a particularly Catalan flavor from the combination of dried fruit and butifarra (a Catalan cured pork sausage) in the stuffing. The stuffing cooks inside the roast, which gives it a deep, marvelously porky flavor.
Chef Holiday Recipes Made Easy More Pork Recipes
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup walnut halves
1 cup brandy
12 dried apricots
12 pitted prunes
1 teaspoon finely grated clementine zest
1 pound butifarra or sweet Italian sausage, meat removed from the casings
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Two 6-rib pork loin roasts (8 1/2 pounds total)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons minced rosemary
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the pine nuts and walnuts in a pie plate and bake for about 3 minutes, until lightly toasted. Coarsely chop the walnuts.
In a small saucepan, bring the brandy to a simmer. Add the apricots, cover and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the prunes and clementine zest. Remove from the heat and let stand for 20 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the fruit to a work surface. Simmer the brandy over moderately high heat until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 7 minutes. Cut the apricots and prunes into quarters.
In a medium nonstick skillet, cook the sausage over moderate heat, breaking it up with a spoon, until almost no pink remains, about 5 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a food processor and process until finely ground. Transfer to a large bowl.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in the skillet. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add to the sausage in the bowl, along with the nuts, apricots, prunes and the reduced brandy and season with salt and pepper.
Carve a 3 1/2-inch pocket along the length of each roast, sliding the knife between the bones and the meat. Fill the pockets with the stuffing. Put the roasts on a large rimmed baking sheet, rib bones up. Rub the roasts with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle the roasts with the thyme and rosemary and season with salt and pepper.
Roast the meat for about 1 hour and 45 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 140°. Transfer the roasts to a carving board and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
Tilt the baking sheet and pour off most of the fat. Put the baking sheet over moderate heat. Sprinkle the flour over the sheet and stir in 1/2 cup of the chicken stock, scraping up the browned bits. Transfer to a medium saucepan and whisk in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of stock. Simmer over low heat, whisking often, until the gravy is thickened and no floury taste remains, about 5 minutes. Pour into a gravy boat.
Using a carving knife, carve the roasts into chops. Transfer the chops to plates and pass the gravy at the table.
Wines from Bierzo in northwestern Spain are suddenly hot. Those produced from the local Mencía grape are full of bright red fruit, with a firm acidity and great minerality that make them very food-friendly. Look for those with a subtle touch of oak that rounds out the fruit and adds structureperfect for this sausage-stuffed pork.
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