Crown Pork Roast with Mushroom – Broccoli Stuffing

Crown Pork Roast is an elegant, classic preparation. Most grocery stores with in-house butchers will prepare the crown-shaped rack of pork chops. Even better, if you have a meat market like Ream’s Elburn Market nearby, order your crown pork roast from them and get the highest quality of pork.

Preparing the roast is very simple. It mainly just takes time and a good instant-read thermometer, like the Thermapen, to make sure the meat reaches 150F and doesn’t go too far past that mark.

At the bottom of this post is a recipe for Cider Gravy, which is new for Ample Bites thanks to friend and fellow foodie George Manos. This gravy is outstanding and a perfect compliment for the pork or chicken. Give it a try even if you don’t make a crown pork roast this holiday season

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Crown Pork Roast with Mushroom – Broccoli Stuffing
(Mark Kelly, 2013)

Serves 15 to 20

1 crown pork roast (15 ribs)
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
1 tsp dried thyme leaves, divided
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
12 ounces button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 head of broccoli, cut into ½-inch pieces
6 cups firm unseasoned bread cubes
12 ounces low-sodium, fat-free chicken stock
1 cup dry white wine

Preheat oven to 325F.

In a small bowl mix the flour with dried parsley, ½ teaspoon thyme and ½ teaspoon pepper. Rub the inside and outside of the roast with salt, then coat the outside with flour mixture. Place the roast rib ends down in a large roasting pan for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare stuffing in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of oil to the skillet. Cook the garlic for 30 seconds. Add the onion and cook until tender and beginning to brown, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms, broccoli, ½ teaspoon thyme and salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until the mushrooms are tender and beginning to brown and the broccoli is tender but still crisp. Stir in the bread cubes and chicken stock. Toss until mixed well.

When pork has roasted 2 hours remove it from the oven and turn the rib ends up. Fill the cavity with stuffing. Bake any leftover stuffing in a covered casserole during the last 40 minutes of cooking and standing time. Pour wine into the roasting pan to keep the drippings moist.

Return roast to oven and continue roasting about 1 ½ hours or until an instant meat thermometer between 2 ribs into the thickest part of the meat reads 150F. If the stuffing is browning too quickly cover it with a piece of foil

Let the roast stand for at least 15 minutes before carving.

Cider Gravy
(Recipe courtesy of George Manos and Epicurious.com, 2013)

1 cup apple cider
4 tsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp applejack brandy
1 1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth

Add 1 cup broth to roasting pan and scrape up browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour juices into 2-cup measuring cup, freeze for 15 minutes. Spoon fat off top of pan juices. Transfer pan juices to medium sauce pan. Add remaining 1/2 cup beef broth and apple cider. Bring to a boil. Dissolve cornstarch into applejack in small bowl; whisk into broth mixture. Boil until gravy thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer gravy to a warm gravy boat to serve.

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Today’s Holiday Cooking Tip: Use A Reliable Thermometer

Regardless of whether you will be roasting a turkey with a “ready button”, a fresh turkey, or a roast it is imperative that you use a reliable thermometer to determine when your main dish is done. This may seem like an obvious tip but it is so simplistic that it is often overlooked by the home cook.

Like many of us you probably have a collection of meat thermometers in your drawers or cabinets. Ample Bites has owned at least a dozen meat thermometers. Ask yourself the following questions about your thermometer(s):
— How accurate are each of your thermometers?
— If you have more than one, do you know which thermometer is most accurate?
— If you spent $100 on a roast, would you trust your thermometer to tell you when the meat is done?

Further questions to consider are:
— Have you ever cut into a roast or turkey to see if it is really done?
— Has the turkey “ready button” ever failed you?

If the above questions raise any doubt in your mind, you have time to purchase the last thermometer you will ever need.

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Ample Bites has a single trusted thermometer – the Thermapen. The Thermapen is a digital, instant-read thermometer that is well-made and tested in the best professional kitchens in the world. It is not cheap. It will cost you about $90. That said, you will be able to discard all of the other meat thermometers cluttering your drawers and you will never produce another overcooked turkey or beef, lamb or pork roast.

For a full review of the Thermapen see the November, 16 2012 Ample Bites post titled “Thermapen – The Best Kitchen Tool Ever!”.

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Thermapen – The Best Kitchen Tool Ever!

The Thermapen is the best tool AmpleBites has ever acquired.

After going through dozens of old-fashioned dial thermometers, cheap instant read thermometers, and timer-thermometer units, I finally made the decision to invest $100 in the Thermapen. I could not possibly be happier with a kitchen tool than I am with the Thermapen.

Problems with all the other thermometers included a lack of accuracy, poor battery life, and a lack of durability. Of course, the most significant of these problems is accuracy and, unfortunately in Ample Bites’ experience, the lesser thermometers tend to understate the temperature. There is nothing worse than buying a nice roast, piece of fish or poultry, cooking it to the desired temperature according to the thermometer only to find that the food has been overcooked. Once the meat is overcooked salvaging a decent outcome with gravy or au jus is possible but the essence of the center piece of the meal has been unalterably changed.

The Thermapen is a durable, versatile, extremely simple to use, and – most importantly – highly accurate instant read thermometer. The thermometer reads the temperature of the air or the food as soon as the probe is hinged away from the body of the Thermapen. The body of the unit fits ergonomically to the human hand and the probe folds into a tap when it is not in use. The temperature read-out is very easy to read, even for those with vision as poor as Ample Bites. The long-life battery fits easily into the handle. The entire unit is designed to by moisture resistant but, like almost any instant read thermometer, it cannot be submerged in liquid.

Some instant read thermometers can take as much as 2 or 3 seconds to reach a final reading. The Thermapen reads an accurate temperature instantly. This may seem trivial but it is it not. Most roast and grilling recipes work best when the oven or grill are closed for the highest percentage of cooking time. The longer you wait for the thermometer to come up to a final temperature the more the integrity of the recipe is compromised. Quickly getting an accurate read from the Thermapen has tremendous value, especially for recipes with shorter cook times.

Because of the simplicity of its design, the Thermapen is quite versatile. In addition to the Thermapen’s ability to quickly check meats and baked items, the Thermapen can be used to produce consistent quality foods. Ample Bites uses it to the temperature for water for doughs just right. Setting and maintaining the temperature of cooking oil for frying and pan frying is critical to producing multiple batches of consistent foods.

As you can surmise from my glowing review, Ample Bites thinks that the Thermapen is the best kitchen tool ever. You can get your own directly from ThermoWorks or through retailers like Amazon. Ample Bites recommends that you throw away the rest of the thermometers you have amassed over the years, buy the Thermapen, use the heck out of it.

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