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Try this festive pork loin roast from 3rd-generation master butcher Ray Venezia for something new—and budget-friendly—this Christmas season.
"The Sugar Plum Pork Roast is made from the center-cut pork loin, which is less expensive than a beef or lamb cut. It can run around 4 dollars per pound for just the center-cut of pork. The advantage is that it can be made sized for a small group of 4 to 6 people, which would be about 3 pounds—anything smaller then 3 pounds would be too small to roast—to over 10 pounds for a larger group. The way to make it very budget-friendly is to buy the whole boneless center of pork which can be $2 to $3 per pound. On sale, it can get as low as around $1.99 per pound—and it goes on sale a lot around the holidays. The whole center runs around 7 to 9 pounds but can yield a lot of other meals like boneless pork chops to pork cutlets."
For more holiday roast ideas, check out Rach's Roast Pork Loin with Crispy Potatoes and Green Beans with Tomatoes and Emeril's Beef Rib Roast With Fresh Horseradish Cream Sauce.
- 3 pounds center-cut boneless pork loin
- About 20 pitted prunes, plus more for garnish
- 8 to 10 dried apricots
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1½ tablespoons garlic powder
- 1½ tablespoons ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1½ pounds fingerling potatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons flour
Preheat oven to 500˚F.
Halve the pork loin crosswise to form 2 equal pieces that can be tied one on top of the other. Lay the 2 pieces side-by-side on a work surface, fat-side down. Working 1 piece at a time, make a lengthwise cut about ¼-inch-deep just off the center and leaning towards 1 side (at about 2 o'clock). Then, butterfly open the flap so it just meets the far side of the roast. Repeat with the second piece. (This creates the bed for the prunes and apricots.)
Make a bed of prunes in the cut of 1 of the meat pieces, then sprinkle dried apricots on top. Lay the other piece of meat over the top of the first piece, placing it in the opposite direction so it will sit evenly. Using kitchen twine, tie the roast together in 1-inch increments so the meat pieces will adhere together once cooked. (This will make the roast slice like 1 big piece of meat.)
Combine the brown sugar, garlic powder, ground ginger, and black pepper, then rub the mixture across the top of the roast. Transfer to a rack-lined roasting pan. Add the celery, carrots, onions and about 10 prunes to the roasting pan, then arrange the potatoes on top. Drizzle the vegetables with about 1/3 cup water and the oil, then transfer to the oven.
Roast for 15 minutes, then lower to 350˚F for a total cooking time of 20 minutes per pound. (i.e. For a 3-pound roast, cook for 15 minutes at 500˚F and then an additional 45 minutes at 350˚F for a total cook time of 60 minutes) Remove roast from pan and let rest. Remove potatoes from the pan and keep warm in the oven.
Whisk the flour into 1½ cups water. Add about another 1 cup water to the roasting pan to scrape up the drippings, then place the roasting pan over medium-high heat. (Alternately, transfer the scraped up drippings into a saucepan.) Whisk the flour-water mixture into the pan and simmer while whisking for 10 minutes to thicken and ensure flour is completely cooked, then strain the gravy.
Slice roast into ¼- to ½-inch-thick pieces and arrange on a serving platter. Arrange prunes around the sides, then drizzle gravy on top. Serve immediately.