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Roasted Pork Loin with Quinces and Lady Apples

The beautiful quince, with its creamy yellow skin and its apple-pear shape, is one of autumns nicest gifts. Due to its coarse texture and astringency, the quince cannot be eaten raw. When cooked, it turns a pale pink and releases its sweet aroma and delicate flavoran exotic fusion of guava, pineapple, pear and apple. Baked alongside a pork loin, quinces are pure heaven. If you cannot find Lady apples, substitute quartered Granny Smith apples. And, if you wish, opt only for one or the other fruit and give it star status.

Ingredients:

  • 4 quinces, peeled, quartered and cored
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened white grape juice
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened apple juice
  • 1 lemon zest strip, 3 inches long
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbs. minced shallot
  • 1 boneless pork loin, about 3 lb.
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 12 Lady apples, unpeeled, left whole and cored
      through the bottom

Directions:

In a saucepan, combine the quinces, grape juice, apple juice and lemon zest and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the quinces are tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Uncover, increase the heat to high and cook until the liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 450ºF.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, mustard, rosemary and shallot. Place the pork in a shallow baking dish or roasting pan and spread the olive oil mixture over it. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and arrange the Lady apples around the roast. Return the pan to the oven, reduce the heat to 350ºF and roast for 15 minutes more. Remove the pan from the oven and pour the quince liquid over the roast. Arrange the quinces around the roast and return the pan to the oven. Roast until the meat is barely pink in the center and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 140º to 150ºF, or until done to your liking, 20 to 30 minutes more.

Transfer the meat to a carving board and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with the fruits and the pan juices. Serves 6 to 8.

Adapted from Halloween Treats by Donata Maggipinto © 1998. Used by permission of Chronicle Books.

Photography by Richard Jung.