Hello December! The month that is waited for earnestly, with great excitement. It’s the happiest month of the year, usually full of cheer and merriment. And chances are, you’ll have a party, to spread the cheer. Which sometimes, can be more stressful, than not. But here is a nice idea for a dish that has lots of flavor that isn’t too demanding of time but tastes like it is. A succulent juicy pork loin gently flavored with thyme, oranges and sweetened with prunes. And a touch of Grand Marnier, makes it extra special. The secret to the pork being so juicy and flavorful is letting it sit overnight in the juices and when your pork is done, making a nice sauce out of the pan juices. Mmmm…go send out those invites!
- 5 pound boneless pork loin
- 6 springs of thyme
- 1 cup tightly packed prunes, roughly chopped
- 1 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice (about 4 oranges)
- 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier, divided
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 5 tablespoons heavy cream
- olive oil
- sea salt
- fresh ground black pepper
Generously salt and pepper your pork loin. And place 5 of the springs of thyme diagonally, over the pork. In 2 inch intervals, tie off your pork. (I used 7, 14-inch pieces of kitchen twine to tie off the pork, trimming the excess.) In a heavy bottomed 13×9 pan, drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of the pan. Place your pork down, fat side up. Sprinkle the prunes around the pork and pour the orange, apple, 1 tablespoon of the Grand Marnier over the loin. Add in the leaves of the remaining spring of thyme. Cover with foil and let sit in your refrigerator overnight. Once you are ready to bake your pork, bring it to room temperature, or slightly under. Dot your pork with the butter and place in the oven, tightly covered. Bake for and hour and a half at 325 degrees, averaging 20 minutes per pound. Half way through, baste your pork. Once your pork is done, carefully move it to a cutting board and cover with the foil, allowing it to rest. Take your pan juices and prunes. Set up a strainer over a bowl and drain your prunes, squeezing the prunes, to get out all of the liquids. Using a hand immersion blender, puree your prunes and set aside. Ladle your pan juices into a gravy separator and pour the defatted juices into a pot, continuing until all of the liquid is defatted and add in the prune puree and the remaining tablespoon of Grand Marnier. Bring to a boil and season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Whisk in the heavy cream, simmering for about 3 minutes, until thickened. Remove the twine and discard. Cut into thin or thick slices and serve with the sauce on the side. Serves a party of 6.