My favourite roasted pork cuts are opposite both tastewise and healthwise. One is the fatty crisp-skinned pork belly, and the other is the leanest loin, with all the fat trimmed off. The latter is the only one I prepare regularly and, even though lean pork is often said to become dry, searing it before roasting and especially stuffing with dried fruit is an excellent way to keep it juicy. Sometimes you don’t even need to serve the roast with any sauce, the softened cooked fruit acting like one.
Prunes are probably the most popular stuffing and for years they used to be the only dry fruit I used. One day, desperate to make a change from the pork-prune combination, I tried dried apricots instead and the result was better than I had expected: apart from the obviously much more attractive colour, dried apricots add more tanginess. The roast is more beautiful, its flavour more interesting and livelier. (Afterwards I saw many people using apricot stuffing, but at the time it was quite a discovery.)
The meat should be seasoned and stuffed at least 20 minutes beforehand, but it’s better when left for several hours in the fridge or even overnight.
Preparation: min. 1 hour 30 min
Ingredients (for approx. 1 kg of meat):
a piece of pork weighing about 1 kg
10 – 15 dried apricots
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons dried granulated garlic (this is the laziest option of course; using fresh garlic is a bit more fussy – it should be peeled, cut into small pieces and placed into small incisions made in the meat, otherwise it burns)
3 tablespoons marjoram
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
(2 tablespoons dried chili)
2 tablespoons oil
Take the meat out of the fridge. Wash it, pat dry, cut off the fattest parts if you want a very lean roast.
Cut up the apricots into four thin slices each.
Start with the stiffing.
Take a long-blade knife and make long, tunnel-like 3 – 4 holes lengthwise, from both sides of the roast, inserting gradually pieces of apricot, pushing them with your fingers and filling the entire “tunnels”.
With your hands rub the pork with salt, afterwards with the remaining spices and marjoram, patting the meat to make sure the seasoning “sticks”.
Cover the meat and put aside for at least twenty minutes (you can leave it for several hours or overnight, but in this case it should be put back into the fridge and taken out 30 minutes before roasting).
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a pan.
Sear the meat for 30 seconds – 1 minute on every side until it browns slightly (turning a bit piece of meat and maintaining it with your hands is easier than with any other utensil).
Put it on a baking dish and bake for 50-60 minutes per kg.
If you see the surface getting burnt (and if it bothers you), you can cover the roast with aluminium foil for the remaining time.
Remove from the oven and serve.
The remains of the pork roast can be kept for a couple of days and eaten as cold cuts in sandwiches or salads.