Crown pork roast is the juiciest, most succulent cut of pork. The roast comes from the rib portion of the loin, which is considered the tenderest of sections.
“For some consumers, this high-end cut and its elegant presentation is somewhat intimidating,” says Susan Riese, manager of consumer marketing and home economist with the Manitoba Pork Council in Winnipeg.
But it needn’t be. Preparing a crown pork roast is simpler than roasting a turkey and takes less time as well, she adds.
“It boils down to three easy steps from roasting it uncovered for a couple of hours and basting it just as you would a turkey with some of the pan juice,” explains Riese.
It is called a crown roast because it has two rib racks that are bent into a circle and then tied together with kitchen twine. The meatiest portion of the ribs forms the bottom of the crown and face inward while the meat has been scraped away from the tips to reveal the bone.
Riese says that shoppers who want to cook it for a special feast should order it from a local butcher shop, supermarket or farmers market well in advance as the crowns have to be specially prepared.
Sometimes the purveyors will include paper frills with the roast that you can use to dress the tips of the bones after cooking and before serving to give it a truly elegant presentation and wow your family and guests this Thanksgiving. Recipe is below. Serve with a sweet potato souffle (recipe follows) and other vegetable side dishes of your choice.
Crown Roast of Pork
• 1 crown roast of pork (about 4.5 kg/10 lb)
• 250 ml (1 cup) diced dried apricots
• 250 ml (1 cup) Grand Marnier liqueur
• 125 ml (1/2 cup) butter
• 250 ml (1 cup) chopped celery
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 1 pkg (227 g/8 oz) herb seasoned stuffing mix
• 125 ml (1/2 cup) slivered almonds
• 250 ml (1 cup) chicken broth
• 2 ml (1/2 tsp) dried thyme
• Salt and pepper, to taste
Sweet Potato Souffle
• 1 bag (454 g) frozen sweet potato chunks
• 2 eggs, separated
• 125 ml (1/2 cup) packed brown sugar
• 5 ml (1 tsp) pumpkin pie spice
• 125 ml (1/2 cup) 10 per cent half-and-half cream
• 15 ml (1 tbsp) pure maple syrup
• Whipped cream (optional)
Crown Roast of Pork
1. In a small saucepan, heat apricots and Grand Marnier to boiling. Remove from heat; set aside. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add celery and onion; saute for 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add stuffing mix, apricots with Grand Marnier and almonds. Stir to combine. Heat broth to boiling. Pour over stuffing mixture. Add thyme, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
2. Fill cavity of pork roast with large foil ball. Place roast in a roasting pan, bones pointing up. Cover bone tips with small pieces of foil to prevent burning. Roast uncovered in a 160 C (325 F) oven for 2 1/2 hours, basting occasionally with pan juices. Remove roast from oven. Drain off any excess fat.
3. Remove foil ball and fill cavity with stuffing. Cover stuffing with a small piece of foil to prevent drying. (Alternatively, place stuffing in a baking dish and cook in oven with roast.) Roast for another 1 1/2 hours or until meat thermometer reaches 68 to 70 C (155 to 160 F). Place roast on a carving board and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Slice between ribs to serve.
Makes 12 to 14 servings.
Spiced Sweet Potato Souffle
1. Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F). Lightly spray the inside of 6 oven-proof ramekins or custard cups with non-stick spray and place on a baking sheet; set aside.
2. Microwave frozen sweet potatoes in bag on high for 12 to 14 minutes or until tender. Let stand for 1 minute.
3. While sweet potatoes are standing, using clean beaters, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form and set aside.
4. Pour slightly cooled sweet potatoes into a large bowl and mash. Using an electric mixer, beat in egg yolks, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, cream and maple syrup until smooth. Gently fold beaten egg whites into sweet potato mixture.
5. Divide mixture among prepared ramekins and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until top is slightly firm to the touch. Let cool for about 5 minutes before serving. Dollop with whipped cream, if using.
Makes 6 servings.