Look Who's Coming to Dinner

Everyone should have at least a couple of tried and true dinner party recipes to use for entertaining.  You need something delicious with a lovely presentation, obviously, and ideally you want something fairly easy to prepare or at least where most of the prep work is done ahead of time so you won't be laboring in the kitchen while your guests are enjoying themselves. 

This fruit stuffed pork loin, inspired by a recipe I found in the November 2011 edition of Southern Living, is a must-have for your next dinner party.  I served this for an early Christmas dinner with my parents and Boy Toy's family and was able to relax with a glass of wine and nosh on appetizers while it roasted in the oven because the prep had been done earlier in the day.  Everyone was impressed - even the children, who asked for seconds.  I served this with homemade french bread, sauteed green beans and twice baked potatoes. 

I used one package of dried fruit that I had on hand that contained cranberries, cherries and blueberries and added the dried figs for variety and fresh apple for color, but if your dried fruit already contains all of those things, just rehydrate two packages on the stove and call it even.  You may also prefer to roast some Golden Delicious apples alongside the pork and onions instead of the pears.   

Fruit Stuff Pork Loin with Roasted Pears and Onions
Inspired by Southern Living

  • 4 oz. dried mission figs, chopped
  • 1 (7-oz.) package mixed dried fruit bits
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup port wine
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 apple, diced (I used a Granny Smith)
  • 1 (4-lb.) boneless pork loin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground pepper, divided
  • Kitchen string
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 

  • 3  firm, ripe Bartlett pears, cored and quartered 
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 (10-oz.) packages cipollini onions, peeled 

  • 1. Prepare Pork Loin: Bring first 6 ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook 2 minutes, stirring once. Remove from heat and cool completely, about 40 minutes or longer (The fruit will soak up most of the liquid during the cooling process.)  Stir in fresh apple. 

    2. Meanwhile, butterfly pork by making a lengthwise cut down center of 1 flat side, cutting to within 1/2 inch of other side. (Do not cut all the way through pork.) Open pork, forming a rectangle, and place between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap. Flatten to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper.

    3. Using a slotted spoon, spoon fruit mixture over pork, leaving a 1/2-inch border around edges. Roll up pork, jelly-roll fashion, starting at 1 long side. Tie with string at 1 1/2-inch intervals. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper.

    4. Preheat oven to 375°. Brown pork in hot oil in a large roasting pan over medium-high heat until browned on all sides (about 2 to 3 minutes per side). Place seam side down in pan.

    5. Prepare Roasted Pears and Onions:  Stir together butter and next 5 ingredients. Stir in onions; gently stir in pear halves. Spoon mixture around roast in pan.

    6. Bake at 375° for 1 hour to 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion of stuffing registers 135°, stirring pear mixture halfway through. Cover with aluminum foil, and let stand 15 minutes.



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