There is something to be said for second choices.
Apples and pork is a more classic combination, but I had all these dried apricots to use up. Apricots go so much better with lamb, but it’s been one of those months and pork is just so much cheaper.
So, this dish was a marriage not of love, but of necessity. Still, it turned out to be a happy one. I had planned to include ginger in the filling, but forgot amidst the usual kitchen bustle. It was still good.
This can be done on a much smaller scale with pork tenderloin, though you’ll want to mince up the apricots somewhat smaller than you need to for a hunk of regular loin.
When roasting and then eating pork, don’t be afraid of a little pink. Overcooking pork was a sad necessity once, but trichinosis isn’t nearly the issue it used to be. Pork is not, in fact, the other white meat.
Apricot-stuffed Roast Pork Loin
- 1 two-pound pork loin roast
- 2 medium onions, diced small, plus two more, sliced thick.
- 1 handful of dried apricots, roughly chopped
- 1 large dash of cumin
- Dry vermouth
- Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 475.
Sweat the diced onions in some butter, seasoning with salt and pepper, then add the apricots and cumin.
(This is where I would have grated in the ginger, if I hadn’t spaced it)
Cook, stirring, until the onions begin to color. Then splash with the vermouth and cook until the liquid is almost entirely gone. Remove from heat and set aside.
Now we’re at the hard part. Place the roast on a cutting board, fattier side down. Make a lengthwise cut down the center of the roast, going about two-thirds to three-quarters of the way through, but not all the way.
Open the roast like a book and then make similar lengthwise cuts on the sides, so that there would be a cross running through the center of the roast if you folded it back up again. Open the halves up the way you did the center, and spread the apricot-onion filling around the inside of the roast.
Now, fold the roast back up and tie it closed. If you can’t get your hands on proper kitchen twine, unwaxed dental floss will work.
Take a small roasting pan or skillet and scatter the thickly sliced onions across the bottom. Pat the roast dry, season it liberally with salt and pepper and place it atop the onion slices. Slide the whole thing in the oven.
After 10 to 15 minutes, the roast should be sufficiently brown. Drop the heat to 350 and cook for another half-hour. The internal temperature was headed toward 150 when I took mine out.
Remove from oven when done, set aside and cover with foil. Let the roast sit 10 to 15 minutes before carving. Slice tableside and serve. The onions from the bottom of the pan can serve as a condiment, if needs be.