Martha Stewart Living (December 2009)
You can have your goose, and you can have your ham.
Take your turkey and your beef roast, too.
For us, there's simply no better Christmas dinner than a roast pork loin drizzled in a sweet sauce. We can't say why, exactly. We just know that a succulent, tender pork roast smothered in a sweet, fruity compote is, to us, quintessential holiday fare.
Which is why our jaws dropped -- dropped! -- when we first spied this Roasted Pork with Mostarda in the December Martha Stewart Living.
First, it was the word "mostarda" that caught our eye. Our minds immediately went to "mustard," thinking that this would be a pork loin slathered in a sweet mustard sauce.
Well, there is mustard in this mostarda, but there's also so much more.
But before we get to that, it's worth noting that this dish is part of a lengthy, drool-worthy feature on an Italian-style Christmas dinner, featuring chicken liver crostini, pomegranate fontina rice balls, and a bevy of other scrumptious-looking dishes. Check it out in the magazine when you get a chance -- it's inspiring and made us long for our imaginary Italian grandmas. We wanted to make everything on the menu, but we needed to make this pork.
But first, what the heck is a mostarda?
In this incarnation, a mostarda is a mixture made of various fresh and dried fruits. Quince or pears are simmered and reduced with dried raisins, currants, apricots, figs and prunes to make a delicious fruit compote that's seasoned with mustard and wine. The resulting mostarda is a thick, sweet and complex mixture of aromatic fruits that blend together wonderfully.
In short, it's jammy deliciousness.
In some ways, this dish is very similar to the Pork Loin with Fig and Port Sauce that we made in earlier this year. But the mostarda takes a pork loin to a whole new level, making it fit for even the nicest holiday celebration.
One note: This recipe calls for using a "bone-in wild boar rib rack" (brrr?) or a pork loin roast, frenched. We used a plain old pork loin and found it to work wonderfully.
The cut of meat you choose, though, is really almost beside the point.
Because in this dish, it's all about the mostarda.
Serves 8 to 10
6 to 8 pounds bone-in wild boar rib rack or pork loin roast, frenched
Extra virgin olive oil, for rubbing
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Mostarda (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 450. Rub meet with oil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Place roast, fat side up, on a rack set inside a roasting pan. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reaches 140 degrees, about 65 minutes. Cut into chops, and serve topped with mostarda.
Makes 2 1/4 cups
2 quinces or pears, peeled, cored, and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups water
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup each raisins, dried currants, chopped dried apricots, chopped dried figs, and chopped prunes
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon dry mustard
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Bring all ingredients except salt and pepper to a boil in a large pot. Reduce heat, and simmer until fruit is very soft and sauce reduces, about 4 hours. Let cool slightly. Refrigerate overnight.
2. Puree half the fruit mixture in a food processor until smooth. Stir puree back into fruit mixture, and season with salt and pepper. Mostarda can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.