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Roast Pork with Apricots

This rich and creamy dish tastes as good as it looks. The concentrated essence of dried fruit is a classic complement for almost any preparation of pork. Here, the roast cooks slowly with apricots to create a memorable dish. Prunes may be used in place of the apricots. If you do, omit the orange juice and add a couple tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
  • 1 boneless pork loin roast, about 2 1/2 lb.
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 cups dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard

Directions:

On a plate, stir together the flour, the 1/2 tsp. salt and the 1/4 tsp. pepper. Turn the pork in the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess.

In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the pork and cook, turning frequently, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Pour off all but 1 Tbs. of the fat in the pan. Add the onion and sauté until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Pour in the broth and deglaze the pan, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom.

Stovetop method: Transfer the pork to a Dutch oven and pour in the broth mixture. Add the apricots, orange juice and thyme. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the pork is very tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 140°F, about 1 1/2 hours.

Slow-cooker method: Transfer the pork to a slow cooker and pour in the broth mixture. Add the apricots, orange juice and thyme. Cover and cook on high for 2 to 3 hours or on low for 4 to 6 hours according to the manufacturer’s instructions until the pork is very tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 140°F.

Transfer the pork to a cutting board and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apricots to a bowl. Using a large, shallow spoon or a ladle, skim as much fat as possible from the surface of the cooking liquid. Strain the juices into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced and concentrated, about 10 minutes. Stir the mustard into the sauce and add the apricots. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut the pork loin across the grain into thin slices and arrange on a warmed platter. Serve immediately with the sauce and apricots. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Slow Cooking, by Melanie Barnard, Charles Pierce & Denis Kelly (Oxmoor House, 2008).