Scandinavian Pork Loin with Apricots and Cherries
To brine or not to brine is no longer the question. Today's lean pork is a pale substitute for yesterday's juicy, fat-streaked meat. Soaking it in a seasoned brine plumps it up and heightens the flavor. Plan to do this a day or two before braising the meat.
Make the brine by boiling the water and all the seasonings in a large saucepan for 15 minutes. Let it cool, pour into a large deep bowl, and refrigerate until very cold. Lower the prepared pork loin in the cold brine, making sure it is completely submerged, cover tightly, and refrigerate for 36 to 48 hours. Alternatively, put the meat and brine in a large plastic brining bag (available in many markets during the holidays) and immerse in an ice-packed cooler.) Before braising, discard the brine and pat the meat dry with paper towels.
Put the apricots and cherries in a small saucepan with enough white wine barely to cover. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat, and steep the fruits for at least 15 minutes. Drain in a strainer set over a measuring cup, reserving the wine, and pat dry with paper towels.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Using fingers or the rounded handle of a wooden spoon, stuff the fruits into the tunnel that runs through the center of the loin, switching alternately from one end to the other. Any fruits left over can be added later to the sauce. Rub the outside of the loin with salt and white pepper.
In a heavy pot equipped with a cover and large enough to accommodate the pork loin comfortably, heat the butter and oil over moderate heat. Brown the meat evenly on all sides, using wooden spoons or tongs to turn it, about 15 minutes. Transfer the loin to a platter. Remove the fat from the pan juices. Measure the reserved wine, adding more wine to make a cup. Stir into the pan juices along with the cream and bring to a boil, stirring briskly. Return the loin to the pan, cover tightly, and cook in the center of the oven for about 45 minutes. Test for doneness with a thermometer inserted in the loin at a slant (avoiding the stuffing). It should register around 150 degrees F. Transfer the meat to a platter and cover with foil. The temperature of the resting meat will rise about 5 degrees.
Skim any fat from the pan juices. Bring the liquid to a boil and reduce to about 1 1/2 cups. Lower the heat, stir in the red currant jelly and cardamom, and cook briefly, stirring constantly, to make a smooth sauce. Add any wine-soaked apricots and cherries not used in the stuffing.
To serve the pork loin, cut away the strings and carve into 1-inch slices. Pass the sauce separately. Traditional accompaniments are braised red cabbage and oven-browned potatoes.
*Many meat counters feature center-cut pork loins already boned and tied at 1-inch intervals. Some loins may also have a tunnel through the center ready for stuffing. If yours doesn't, use a sharp knife to make a 3/4-inch incision at each end. Force a long skewer through the loin, and enlarge it slightly with the long rounded handle of a wooden spoon.
Note: Add an additional 36 to 48 hours for brining to total time
|Per Single Serving / Serves 6 Total|
|Calories||648||Calories from fat||252|
|Total Fat||28gm||43%||Saturated Fat||13gm||65%|
|Vitamin A||31%||Vitamin C||4%|
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
** Nutrient information is not available.
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