Indigo and I took in the new year at a tavern in the neighborhood that hosted a wig themed new years party. What fun we had! One thing I'll really miss about living in Chicago is being able to go out for a night of fun and walk home or just hop in a cab.
I wanted to start the new year off with a great meal. I came across a recipe for an apricot stuffed roast pork loin that sounded fantastic but I decided to make a few changes by using dried apricots and cherries and roasting it over a bed of root vegetables.
I went to one of the butchers in the neighborhood, and asked for a boneless pork loin, so he pulled out a whole side of pork about two and a half feet long with ribs attached and cut a gorgeous roast for me, cutting it away from the ribs and tossing them on top before wrapping it up.
January first was a day of howling icy cold winds and I was so glad I didn't have to go anywhere, but relax and cook a fine meal.
Roast Pork with Apricot, Cherry and Shallot Stuffing with mustard sauce and Root Vegetables
1 cup cubed bread, toasted in oven or skillet
1/2 cup chopped shallots
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 C dried apricots, quartered
1/4 dried cherries
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (3- to 3 1/2-lb) center-cut boneless pork loin roast (3 - 4 inches in diameter)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 tablespoon of whole grain Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon flour
6-8 whole garlic cloves
4 chopped carrots
2 red potatoes 1/2" cubed
1/2 large onion rough chopped
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Cook shallots in butter over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add dried apricots, cherries and 1/3 cup chicken stock and cook, stirring until fruits are slightly softened and stock is reduced, about 3 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in bread, parsley, salt, and pepper.
Chop vegetables and toss with olive oil, spread in bottom of roasting pan, salt and pepper to taste.
Stuff and roast pork:
With a long knife, make a hole for stuffing that runs lengthwise through pork loin about 1 ½ - 2" wide.
Pack with stuffing from both ends, pushing it toward the center.
Pat pork dry, rub with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Heat heavy skillet over high heat until very hot and brown pork on all sides.
Transfer to the roasting pan on top of chopped vegetables (I tossed the ribs on top of the veggies along the side for more flavor) and roast in middle of oven until a meat thermometer (avoid stuffing) registers 158-160°F, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand 20 minutes.
Remove roasted vegetables to a serving bowl and keep warm.
Add flour to ½ cup chicken stock and stir until flour is dissolved.
While loin is standing, straddle roasting pan across stove burner. Add 1/2 cup white wine and any juices that run off pork to pan, deglaze by boiling over moderate heat, scraping up brown bits and reduce by half. Add 1/2 cup chicken stock/flour and mustard stir until it begins to boil and thicken. Serve on side.
It came out heavenly. The perfect hearty winter meal to start the year off right!