Pork Roast with Prunes and Marjoram

roti_porcpPork with prunes is such an international dish, I felt a bit uneasy writing about it (UPDATE: it SEEMED to me very international, but luckily I was wrong); the only reason I do is the presence of marjoram, which for me changes everything here. When I realised none of my foreign friends or relatives seasons pork roast with marjoram, I decided I would share with you this wonderful combination of flavours.

Marjoram, a close cousin of oregano, seems to be much less known in most countries around the world. For me it’s the opposite, since I grew up with the scent of dried marjoram, one of the most important herbs in Polish cuisine. It is mainly used with powerful flavours and/or heavy meals such as pork dishes or rich soups because of its digestive qualities, but also its powerful aroma and a slightly bitter taste, perfect to enhance strong-flavoured meats. Therefore, for me, marjoram and pork are like rosemary and lamb: they seem to be made for each other and whenever I prepare a European-inspired pork dish, marjoram is the first seasoning that comes to my mind. As for the prune, apart from its pork-friendly flavours, it plays here an additional and very important role: it enables me to use the leanest loin without ending up with completely dried meat (and it also allows me to have it as often as I wish, without fearing for my waistline). In short, for me marjoram and prune are the key elements for a perfect pork roast.

TIPS: It is usually advised to roast pork for one hour per 1 kg of meat. For our everyday meals I usually buy a small piece of loin (about 600 g), brown it first in a pan to seal the juices and this browning process reduces the further time of roasting. Feel free to apply your own roasting method here.

This is a method to roast pork stuffed with prunes. If you don’t stuff it with prunes, use a fattier cut, otherwise, with this roasting method you will end up with dry meat.

You can skip the marinating process, but the seasoned meat tastes really better after several hours or a night in the fridge.

Preparation: about one hour+ marinating time (minimum eight hours)

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

600 g/about 21 oz pork loin (or any other pork cut you prefer; the fattier, the juicier it will be)

about ten big prunes, stoned, halved lengthwise

salt, pepper, dried marjoram, black pepper, dried chilli pepper powder (or sweet pepper in powder, if you don’t want a spicy roast), dried powdered garlic

First make 3-4 long cuts (tunnels) with a rather narrow knife inside of your roast (lengthwise).

Using your fingers stuff them with halves of the prunes (do this after each cut, so that you remember well where you did them).

Leave some space at the end of the tunnels: the prunes will swell during the baking process and they will fall out.

Rub the meat on all sides starting with salt, then rubbing with garlic and then with the remaining condiments.

Put the roast into the fridge (covered or wrapped) for several hours or overnight (or even more if you wish).

Heat the oven to 180°C.

Take the meat out of the fridge about 30 minutes before browning it.

Heat some oil in a pan and brown the roast on each side (about 1 minute per side).

Place the roast into a greased baking tin, pour some water at the bottom (several tablespoons).

(If, like me, you are mad for marjoram, you can now rub some more of it into the roast and sprinkle some onto the baking tin too, but skip this step if you have never cooked with marjoram; the result might be too strong for you.)

Bake for about 30 minutes, pouring (use a spoon), once or twice, some of the juices on top of the roast (make a test after 20 minutes: if you insert a skewer the juices should be clear, without any reddish traces).

Take out of the oven and make it rest for about ten minutes before serving.

I like it served with a potato salad or simply with bread and a green salad, but it’s also fantastic cold in a sandwich.





30 Replies to “Pork Roast with Prunes and Marjoram”

  1. I’m being more adventurous in my meat/fruit combinations but stuffing a pork roast with fruit is a new one to me. Perhaps one day, I’ll give it a try as the pork tenderloin with the plum-balsamic reduction turned out so well. Marjoram too is a new herb to me. My mom used VERY few herbs in her cooking so it’s not something I was familiar with growing up. In fact, I only bought marjoram myself very recently after I realized I needed it for a pan gravy recipe to serve with pork chops and didn’t have any. I substituted summer savoury at the time which made for a tasty recipe in any case. And now I have marjoram in my spice cabinet. 🙂

    1. I guess I shouldn’t have felt silly posting this recipe then 😉 Somehow I was convinced that pork roast and prunes were incredibly popular in all the Western countries! From the point of view of taste I like prunes with pork because they bring a bit of acidity (apart from their sweetness). Marjoram is quite strong (stronger than origan), so I use it practically only with pork, but I cannot imagine not having it in my cupboard.

      1. Blogs are international so you never know who is going to discover a new recipe that they have never heard of. Even in the area that a dish ‘originated’ or is commonly cooked, some families may not know of the dish.

        PS: It’s OREGANO. 🙂

        1. You are right, but I was sure having seen it on blogs… (On the other hand, the worst happens when I think I’m posting something very original and then I realise it is not original at all 😉 )
          Thank you so much for the correction. Such a stupid mistake. I don’t know why I have put it in French…

  2. I am sure I would love the succulence and the sweet flavor combination of these two ingredients. I would definitely use a fatty cut of pork on this one as it is juicer and more flavorful. Thank you, Sissi and I hope you are having a wonderful weekend. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Ray. I eat pork so often, I try to use leaner cuts whenever I can, but fatter roast cut is definitely better here.

  3. To me, both the marjoram and the prunes are unique. I have played with plum, peach and apricot jams with roasts of this nature but not prunes I don’t think, which I imagine to be simply delicious. This recipe is so you Sissi! In fact, if I had come across it somewhere else, I would email it to you because it reminds me so much of your culinary sensibilities. I know exactly what you mean about dry meat… yuck. Let’s face it, fat is a wonderful moisturizer and flavor enhancer. How great that you were able to add that succulent quality back into the pork with the prunes. Another pork recipe for us to try! (Also… your prunes are reminding me of one of our favorite Sissi holiday treats… dipped in chocolate 😀 ).

    1. Wow! I’m so surprised. As I have told A_Boleyn, I was sure (but really 200% sure) that pork stuffed with prunes is a staple in Western cuisines all around the world… Thank you so much, Kelly, for all the kind words… You know me sooo well! I do remember you like prunes in chocolate. Such a simple, but so delicious (and Polish) snack…
      I do buy fatter cuts from time to time, but I’m such a pork addict, I must make compromises… and buy lean cuts most of the time. Otherwise I would have to change a size every year 😉

  4. This is a new recipe all around. First of all, I’ve never heard of prunes with pork. Even though I do love prunes, I usually just eat them as a snack when I need to. 🙂 I’ve never cooked with them and have definitely never served them with pork or seasoned them with marjoram. Pork and marjoram…another combo that is new. Love the comparison of pork to marjoram as lamb to rosemary. The latter is a must and one we just love! Very interesting dish Sissi! Thanks for providing another unique and delicious looking recipe!

    1. I think I’ll change the first sentence of my post 😉 I was really deeply convinced pork roast with prunes was an old, worldwide known Western recipe… I had no idea it wasn’t a staple in Canada or US! I must say I’m relieved… I was hesitating before posting it, thinking it might be boring… Thank you so much for the compliments.

  5. Hi Sissi, you know – I’ve heard of this dish before, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen it. I can’t believe how nice it looks… I don’t know what I was expecting… maybe I was thinking the prunes would get kind of “smashed up” during cooking and just end up disintegrating in the meat, leaving a stain around the hole when you cut it, but I can’t believe how fat and juicy the prune looks sitting in the meat!

    I’m never so adventurous in my meat roasting – you have inspired me to try it – I have dinner planned for tomorrow, but next weekend I think I will have this… I will try to report back if I remember to let you know how it went. I think I’ve seen marjoram before here… I like it too, so I’ll be all set! 🙂

    1. Hi, Charles! What a pleasure to see you here! I hope you are well!
      Thank you so much for compliments. I thought it looked awful (somehow my roasts and all the oven dishes look so messy…). Prunes are in my opinion a great company for pork: they are just slightly sweet, slightly acid… and as I have said, they keep the roast moist. (If you don’t make roast often, do choose a fattier ut of course! it will be much better). Anyway, I hope you will try this recipe. I’d be very proud. It’s very simple. The only thing that can go wrong is overcooking the meat, but then you can use it as fantastic cold cuts…

      1. Awful? Pah – no way! I should greatly like to use a fattier cut of meat but I’m cursed… ahem, I mean “blessed”… with a wife who hates juicy meat, much to my disdain. She wants squeaky-dry chicken and pork, steak cooked like a car tyre. I’m trying to teach her but it’s a long process :p

        I should like to get a cut which has some fat on the top because then I can combine it with another favourite of mine – crispy roast pork cracklings – although I’ll have to see if the method of attaining that is compatible with your preparation here! 🙂

        1. As you might remember in France they always leave some fat on top of the loin (sometimes also wrap some fat around it for additional “moisture”), but not sure if it’s enough for cracklings… Good luck!

  6. I love pork and prunes and I stuff it too with them. I even have a recipe in blog about pork prunes and apricots which are too perfect for stuffing pork. This is a fine dish Sissi and I would love to try it, if it was served in front of me!

    1. Thank you so much, Nipponnin. I am very curious to see your pork dish! I’m sure it’s fantastic.

  7. This is very similar to the recipe I enjoy making…it was a recipe that I saw on a very old Martha Stewart Show and she was cooking with her Mom. Her Mom showed us her technique in making the pork and to be honest, the prunes and marjoram are a fantastic combination, quite surprising because I don’t use marjoram on anything else. Martha’s Mom also slivered several cloves of garlic and stabbed them into the pork as additional flavouring and it’s quite intoxicating. I didn’t mind the cooked slivered garlic but my hubby didn’t like them, so I had to count each sliver and account for them so they wouldn’t get into the serving. I haven’t made this recipe in some time…thank you for the reminder.

    1. Hi, Eva. I’m glad you like this combination too. Now that I’ve seen that M. Stewart has Polish origins, it’s normal that she presented it 😉 In Poland pork and prune roast is very popular (and as I have said marjoram is THE herb you will find in every kitchen). I think the roasting time is not long enough to melt the garlic here (though as a garlic fan, I’d have nothing against 🙂 ). I stuff meat with garlic when I slow-bake for several hours and the garlic melts… Here I prefer powdered garlic. It’s less harsh.

  8. mmm – pork and fruit play so nicely together, don’t they? I’ve never tried prunes with pork before, but this looks so good – I imagine the prunes keep the meat nicely moist too – fantastic recipe!

  9. The idea of pork with fruit just make me want to have a slice of this meat…looks delicious Sissi.
    Thanks for the recipe…hope you are having a fabulous week 🙂

  10. Looks absolutely fantastic, nice char on the pork.
    The Brits combine apples with pork, and there’s sweet & sour pork (pineapples). But prune pork is a first for me. Also its whole prune rather than sauce, interesting. Its almost like dinner and dessert in one.
    Have a good weekend

    1. Thank you so much for the compliments. I like here especially the tangy and slightly smokey side of prunes… (I don’t like pork with apples for example). In Poland pork roast with prunes is extremely popular.

      1. Now you made me even more curious. I don’t like pork and apples either. My concern was biting into a chunk of prune, and that would overpower the taste of pork. But it seems not, so I should try.
        I cannot visit Switzerland this year due to hectic travel schedule. But I plan to go to Berlin for New Years. Would you guys be interested in joining?

        1. In general I don’t like apples with savoury dishes (the French serve black pudding with apples and I never touch them). For me pork has quite a strong taste, so the prunes don’t overpower it (in my opinion, of course)… It’s funny because on the other side I sometimes add prunes to turkey breast but for the opposite reasons: its lack of taste 😉
          Pity you cannot come to Switzerland! Next year, let’s hope! Unfortunately we already have (local) New Year’s plans. I hope you will have fun in Berlin.

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