serves: 8 servings
Grappa can be used instead of Bourbon for this recipe, but I love the mellow caramel flavor the bourbon imparts to the meat and the sauce.
½ pound pitted prunes
½ cup bourbon
3 pound boneless center loin of pork roast
10 fresh sage leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
½ cup carrot, diced
½ cup celery , diced
½ cup onion, roughly chopped
2½ cups chicken stock
In a small container, soak the prunes in bourbon one hour.
Heat the oven to 450. Drain the prunes and reserve four of them along with the soaking liquid. Line the remaining soaked prunes along the slit in the roast. Fold the flap over the opening and tie the roast securely with kitchen twine at 2-inch intervals. Thread the sage leaves in two rows through the ties on either side of the roast. Season the roast generously with salt and pepper and rub it with the olive oil. Place the roast in an 18 x 14-inch roasting pan. Roast 15 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Tilt the roasting pan and spoon off excess fat from the roast. Scatter the carrot, celery, onion and garlic around the roast. Roast 15 minutes.
Add the reserved prunes and the soaking liquid and roast 10 minutes. Pour the stock into the pan and continue cooking, basting the roast occasionally with the pan juices until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the roast registers 155 degrees, 30 to 40 minutes.
Remove the roast to a platter. Pass the contents of the pan through a food mill fitted with the fine disc into a small bowl. (Alternatively, strain the liquid through a sieve, pressing on the vegetables to extract as much liquid as possible and to force some of the vegetables through the sieve.) Skim all fat from the surface of the sauce. The sauce should be thick enough to lightly coat a spoon. If not, transfer the sauce to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer until thick enough to lightly coat a spoon. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, if needed. Cut the meat into 1/4-inch slices and serve with the sauce.