I recently discovered prunes…juicy California Grown prunes. And it’s official: California prunes are taking their name back. They are not only sumptuous, they’re filled with fiber and potassium, and good for gut health, digestive issues, your heart, and your bones…but in this recipe, they are just plain delicious. We had so much fun creating this next-level, juicy, moist, magnificent way to cook a pork roast. It’s such a treat: festive, sweet and savory, with a lovely rich sauce that is, surprisingly, free of butter or cream.
We created a red wine prune reduction—it makes such a wonderful sauce. Prunes have a natural sweetness and a high moisture content, and stuffing the pork shoulder with them (as well as some delicious seasonings, like garlic, parsley, sage, coriander, and allspice) kept it super moist. One of the great things about cooking with California prunes is that you can reduce your sugar, while eating something sweet. Sumptuous, juicy, and delicious.
This is a truly special roast for a special occasion. You make an amazing paste with California prunes, spices, fresh herbs, and olive oil. Then cut slits in the pork shoulder, and insert that goodness right into the pork shoulder. Then you stuff the natural crevices in the roast with prunes. Plus, there are prunes reduced in the red wine reduction sauce—which all comes together with the sumptuous pork fat…so it’s a trifecta. It might sound like prune overkill, but I assure you, it is sublime. When you slice this roast, it is unbelievably juicy and absolute magic. Let me know how much you love this very special roast!Print
4 garlic cloves
¼ cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
6 fresh sage leaves
1½ tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¾ teaspoon ground coriander
1½ cup halved prunes, divided
One 5-pound boneless pork shoulder (see note)
2 cups red wine (see note)
½ cup sliced shallots
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a food processor, combine the garlic, parsley, sage, salt, allspice, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, and ½ cup of the prunes and pulse until the mixture is broken down to a sticky paste. With a paring knife, make crosshatch cuts into the meat, about 2 inches deep, at 2-inch intervals. Press the spice paste into each cut. Then rub the extra spice on the sides.
Using ½ cup prunes (about 6-8), place them inside the natural openings on the sides of the pork roast. Place in the oven and cook 2 hours.
After 2 hours, remove the pork from the oven. Chop the remaining ½ cup of prunes very finely. Add the red wine, the prunes, the shallots, and the balsamic vinegar to the pan, stirring to combine and to deglaze the pan and create a wonderful sauce. Return to the oven and continue cooking about 1 hour (for a total of 3 hours) or until the internal temperature is 155F. Watch the pork closely. When it gets brown, loosely cover it with foil to avoid burning.
Serve with the Prune Wine Reduction on the side.
Notes: If you have time, marinate the pork roast overnight. Just cover the pork roast in plastic wrap (or beeswax wrap), set it in a roasting pan, and refrigerate. When ready to cook, remove the pork from the refrigerator to bring to room temperature, about 1 hour.
Use a reasonably priced bottle of red wine. A Cabernet, Zinfandel, or Pinot Noir would be lovely. If you are not able to use red wine, use beef broth instead.
Pork roasts are often tied together. There are crevices all over where you can tuck prunes inside the meat. It will be delicious.
Keywords: pork roast, wine reduction, dinner party meal
2 cups red wine vinegar
1 cup red wine
½ cup dark brown sugar, loosely packed
1/2 cup finely chopped prunes
In a saucepan, add the vinegar, red wine, and brown sugar and stirring, bring to a boil. Have a glass measuring cup ready to measure. Reduce the heat and simmer rapidly until liquid reduces to 2½ cups, about 40 minutes. Add the prunes. Continue to simmer the sauce until it reduces to 2 cups, about 20 more minutes. Then continue to simmer for about 10 more minutes until the sauce is black, syrupy, and glossy. Be careful that the sauce does not over-reduce and burn. Serve alongside the Pork Roast.
You can make the glaze a day ahead. Pull it out to bring to room temperature while the pork roast is in the oven cooking for the last hour.