What I'm Cooking


Kristin's Pork Loin with Plum Sauce
This is one I invented based on the memory of a dish I'd seen a colleague order at a lunch once plus a chicken dish I had on a Delta first class flight. It's evolved over time into a recipe I use for formal dinner parties. You stuff the pork loin with cranberries and apples so that when you slice it thin and lay it on the plate it looks very showy. I usually make a triple recipe of the plum sauce and freeze it in separate small containers for use throughout the year. My husband likes the plum sauce on ice cream. Be sure you use a decent wine -- as you cook the sauce down, the flavor will intensify.

½ c dried cranberries
½ green apple, diced
3 T sugar
Gamay Beaujolais or Beaujolais Nouveau wine
8 ripe black plums (or red)
¼ c sugar
¼ t salt
1 t lemon juice
pork loin
2 T butter

1. In saucepan, mix 1/3 c of wine with 2-3 T of sugar until sweet to the taste. Add dried cranberries and put over low heat. You don't want to cook them, you just want to reconstitute them. Cut the plums into a separate sauce pan. You don't have to peel them. I usually just cut chunks the size of my thumb off until I'm down to the pit. Add wine to a depth of about 1 inch. Add enough sugar that the wine is sweet to the taste. Add salt and lemon juice. Cook over a medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until the plums soften, about 40 minutes. Mixture should be thick like applesauce.

2. In the meantime, using a sharp knife, cut the pork loin lengthwise in a spiral fashion so that you can unroll it into a flat sheet about ½ to ¾ of an inch thick. Run lengths of string under the pork -- you're going to want to tie it up once you've put the stuffing in. Add diced apple to the pan with the reconstituted cranberries and mix. Using a measuring cup or something as a scoop, mound the fruit in a line in the center of the pork loin, then pull the edges of the meat together to enclose the fruit. Tie the meat up about every 1 ½ inch so that you have a center filling of fruit surrounded by pork loin. You can also spread the filling across the whole sheet and roll it up to get a pinwheel effect, but this is tricky to pull off.

Preheat oven to 325°. Put 1 T of butter in a baking dish and put it into the oven so it melts. Meanwhile, melt 1 T butter in skillet. Brown pork on all sides -- I usually use tongs to turn it. Place in the baking dish and brush with melted butter. Cook at 325° until done, about 50 min. Set pork on platter to rest. Pour pan juices into the plum sauce and boil 1 min. Slice pork in ¾ inch slices, making sure to make cuts at the string so you can take it off prior to serving. Serve with plum sauce over the top.

Variations: use raisins, cut up plums, and/or dried sour cherries in combination with or as substitute for cranberries and apple. You can brown shallots in the skillet before you brown the pork, to get a more savory effect. You can also use this recipe with chicken breasts (pound flat before stuffing) or Cornish game hens (stuff with mandarin oranges).

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