Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fruit-Stuffed Pork Loin with Apple Cider Sauce

Okay, this recipe is seriously amazing. Can I say that again? AMAZING. Even though it looks really fancy, a beginning cook could make it and pass for an advanced cook. You know why? Because the recipe is, again, AMAZING. It's also good for any time of year. Fruity enough for summer, savory enough for winter. Amazing.

Thanks to my friend (and employer) Julie for passing this on to me.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma.


  • 1 boneless pork loin, 2 1/2 lb. 
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped apple
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots. If you have none, dried apple works too.
  • 1/4 cup raisins, cranberries or both
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme -- go light with this!
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch 
  • A few feet of kitchen string (cotton yarn would work, but don't use polyester!)


1) Make your apple juice into apple cider by adding a few dashes of cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves. You can use whole cloves too, if you strain them out after sitting for a while. Stir and let sit while you prepare the stuffing.
2) Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut 4 pieces of kitchen string, each about 14 inches long. 

3) Warm the olive oil in a large fry pan over medium-low heat. Add the apple and onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the dried apricots, raisins and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Add the apple cider and boil, stirring occasionally, until the cider is absorbed by the stuffing, about 5 minutes.

4) Cut the pork loin like a hot dog bun, just deep enough so that the loin opens up to lie flat like a book. Some pork loins come already sliced completely in half, and it's workable. Just pretend it's still attached by a hinge and try to keep the stuffing from going everywhere.
5) Place the strings evenly underneath the pork loin. (Two loins shown below.)
6) Spoon the stuffing evenly onto the meat. Close up the loin tightly using the strings. Push in stuffing where you can. Sprinkle the surface LIGHTLY with the thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Place the loin in a baking pan and add 1/2 cup of the cider to the pan.
7) Roast the loin for 30 minutes. Baste with the pan juices and add a cup of cider to the pan. 
8) Roast for another 15 minutes before basting again. Check temperature of meat. Continue roasting, basting every 15 minutes until the internal temperature reaches150°F. That will take between 20 and 45 minutes AFTER the initial basting (when you added the extra cider.)

9) Transfer the loin to a cutting board and cover loosely with aluminum foil. 
10) To make gravy: Scrape the pan bottom to dislodge any remaining bits, then pour the pan juices into a measuring pitcher and add additional cider as needed to measure 1 1/2 cups total. In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup of the pan juices and the cornstarch, and stir until the cornstarch is dissolved. Then add the remaining pan juices. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the sauce is slightly thickened. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Cut the loin into slices and serve the gravy on the side.
Serves 6 - 8.