Roast Pork with Dried Fruit and Catalan-Style Spinach
Pork and dried fruit are natural partners, as this recipe from Spanish chef José Andrés demonstrates. Before you brown the meat, pat it dry with paper towels to ensure a good sear.
- 20 dried apricots
- 20 dried pitted prunes
- 1 cup brandy
- 1 bone-in pork loin roast, about 4 lb., excess fat trimmed
- Kosher salt, to taste, plus 1/2 tsp.
- 4 celery stalks, cut into large dice
- 2 carrots, cut into large dice
- 2 yellow onions, cut into large dice
- 10 garlic cloves, peeled
- 3 bay leaves
- 6 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 Tbs. pine nuts, toasted
- Catalan-style spinach for serving (see related recipe at left)
In a small bowl, combine the dried apricots, prunes and brandy, submerging the fruit completely. Let stand for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
Preheat an oven to 400°F.
Heat a large nonstick roasting pan over medium-high heat. Pat the pork dry with paper towels and season with salt. Place the pork, fat side down, in the pan and sear until browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Turn the pork over and sear until browned on the other side, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Add the celery, carrots, onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and the 1/2 tsp. salt to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and lightly caramelized, 7 to 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
Place a roasting rack on top of the vegetables and set the pork, fat side up, in the center of the rack. Transfer to the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and carefully add the dried fruit, brandy, wine and stock, gently shaking the pan to distribute the liquid. Continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat, away from the bone, registers 145°F, 30 to 40 minutes more. Transfer the pork to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for about 10 minutes.
Remove the rack from the pan. Transfer the dried fruit to a saucepan. Strain the pan juices into a bowl, discarding the vegetables. Add the juices and pine nuts to the saucepan with the fruit. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until slightly reduced, about 8 minutes.
Remove the chine bone from the bottom of the pork loin and discard. Cut the meat into slices 1/4 inch thick until you hit bone. Cut out the bone pieces and discard, then continue slicing. Transfer the slices to a warmed platter and spoon the dried fruit and pine nuts on top. Drizzle some of the sauce over the pork. Serve the remaining sauce and the Catalan-style spinach alongside. Serves 4 to 6.
Recipe by Chef José Andrés.