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Crown Roast of Pork with Apple and Hazelnut Stuffing

Nothing says the Christmas holidays quite like a crown roast of pork filled with savory stuffing. And it’s perfect for serving a hungry crowd. To enhance the flavor, the meat is first soaked in a seasoned saltwater brine.

Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon room-temperature water
  • 12 bay leaves
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 Tbs. dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbs. black peppercorns
  • 9 cups kosher salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1 gallon plus 4 cups ice water
  • 1 crown roast of pork with 12 ribs, about 5 lb.
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 large leeks, about 1 lb. total, white portion only, rinsed well and sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 Fuji or Pink Lady apples, cored and diced
  • 1 lb. dried bread croutons
  • 1 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
  • 2 cups chicken stock, warmed

Directions:

In a large pot over high heat, combine the room-temperature water, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, thyme, red pepper flakes, black peppercorns and the 9 cups salt. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt. Remove from the heat.

In a large brining bag or a 5-gallon container, combine the brining solution with the ice water and add the pork roast. Seal the bag or cover the pot and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.

Remove the roast from the brine, rinse thoroughly with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Season the roast with black pepper. Place in a large roasting pan and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 400°F.

Meanwhile, in a fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil and melt the butter. Add the leeks, celery and apples and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and caramelized, 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, add the croutons and hazelnuts and stir to evenly distribute the ingredients. Add the stock 1 cup at a time, stirring to evenly moisten the croutons. Season the stuffing with salt and pepper.

Spoon 3 cups of the stuffing into the center of the roast, transfer to the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Continue roasting until the meat is slightly pink in the center and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat, away from the bone, registers 145°F, about 45 minutes more, or until done to your liking. Using 2 large metal spatulas, carefully transfer the roast to a large carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.

Meanwhile, increase the oven temperature to 375°F. Spoon the remaining stuffing into a buttered 2-quart baking dish and cover with foil. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover the dish and continue baking until the stuffing is crisp and golden, 20 to 25 minutes more.

Scoop the stuffing from the center of the roast onto individual plates and carve the roast between the bones. Serve the stuffing in the baking dish alongside. Serves 12.

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.