Pork Loin, Figs & Apricots

May 13, 2009

If you want a subject, look to pork!
~Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

In case you have not noticed, I adore dried fruit coupled with meat.

The pork loin runs the length of the pig from shoulder to hip. It entails the shoulder blade at one end, the hip and tenderloin at the other, and the ribs in the middle. The center cut of a boneless loin is the leanest—often folded, then tied.

PORK LOIN, FIGS & APRICOTS

3 C port
2 C chicken broth
8 dried figs, coarsely chopped
6 dried apricots, coarsely chopped
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 cinnamon sticks
3 T honey
6 T unsalted butter, cut into pads, room temperature
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 T olive oil
2 T fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
1/2 C dijon mustard
4 fresh, plump garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 T each of sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 T dried rosemary, pinched between thumb and forefinger
1 (4 1/2 lb or so) boneless pork loin

1/2 C port
1/2 C chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 425

In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the port, broth, figs, apricots, rosemary sprigs, garlic and honey. Boil over medium high until reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Discard the herb sprigs and cinnamon sticks. Whisk in the butter. Season to taste, with salt and pepper.

Stir the olive oil, rosemary leaves, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl to blend. Place the pork loin on a rack with a heavy roasting pan and rub with salt, pepper and dried rosemary. Spread the oil mixture over the pork to coat completely. Basting occasionally, roast until the thermometer registers 150 degrees, about 45 minutes total.

Transfer the pork to a cutting board and tent with foil. Let the pork rest at least 20 minutes.

Over medium high heat, deglaze the roasting pan with port and later add the chicken broth into the roasting pan, stirring in browned bits. Stir in the fig & apricot juices and bring the pan juices to a vibrant simmer and reduce until somewhat thick, coating the wooden spatula. Season with salt and pepper to taste, if necessary.

Carve straight down like a loaf of bread into 1/4″ thick slices. After arranging the on plates, spoon the fig & apricot juice over the pork slices.

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