This post is dedicated to a cartography professor who’s provided a lot of helpful advice to me over the last couple years. I’m graduating on Saturday — what better way to say “goodbye and thanks” than through a completely insane retro recipe? So here is a “memorable summer meal.” Enjoy
3 1/2 lb loin of pork
1 pkg (1 lb) pitted prunes
2 tablespoons butter or regular margarine
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cans (10 1/2 oz size) condensed beef broth, undiluted
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 envelope unflavored gelatine
4 slices lemon
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Wipe pork with damp paper towels; trim off excess fat.
3. With long, sharp knife or 2 skewers, make 2 deep holes 1 inch apart, on each end, straight through the length of roast.
4. Using fingers, push 12 to 14 prunes into holes.
5. In hot butter in 6-quart Dutch oven (about 14 inches long), brown roast on each side. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and ginger.
6. Place rest of prunes in Dutch oven, and pour in 1 can beef broth. Insert meat thermometer into thickest part of meat. Roast, covered, 30 minutes.
7. Remove cover. Roast, basting every 30 minutes, 1 1/2 hours, or until thermometer registers 180F; add water if necessary.
8. Remove roast from pan to tray. Purée liquid from pan, prunes, and 1/4 cup lemon juice in electric blender.
9. Spread purée over roast. Refrigerate several hours.
10. To make glaze: In small saucepan, soften gelatine in remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice. Add remaining can beef broth; stir over medium heat until mixture starts to boil.
11. Set pan in bowl of ice cubes, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes, until mixture is consistency of unbeaten egg white.
12. To decorate: Cut lemon slices in half. Press into prune purée, in an attractive pattern. Spoon thickened gelatine mixture over entire surface. Refrigerate 1 hour. Serves 6 to 8.
Here’s what goes into the dish. It looks like a reasonable combination of stuff for a meat recipe, except for the excessive broth, gelatin, and practically an entire canister of prunes.
I used a boning knife to make two holes running down the length of the loin section. However, when I tried to ram the prunes in, they wouldn’t fit easily, so I did another cut at a right angle, to make a plus-shaped slit.
Then sticking seven prunes in either side was simple. Fourteen of them just fit.
I used a separate frying pan and roast pan for doing the cooking, rather than the single Dutch oven called for in the recipe. The roast browned nicely in the frying pan.
I plunked it into the pan, along with a can of broth and a can of prunes. The broth got dribbled over the meat. Then it went into the oven.
The roasting time was accurate: just under two hours total. I did need to add an extra splash of water at the last basting, to keep the prunes in the pan from getting completely dried out. By that point, the meat had shrunk quite a bit, but the prunes had not, so the end ones were about to pop out.
We used the lemon juice to deglaze the roasting pan to get the most of the fond that had built up in the pan. Mixed together, it was rather oily looking.
This is where things went nuts.
Blending it with the stick blender was actually tricky. The first bowl was too small, and the thick prune goop sprayed around a lot.
Once we got it good and smooshed, there seemed to be an awful lot of it. I felt bad for the lovely browned pork roast, which now was being smeared with … whatever this stuff is.
While the prune-matter-coated roast was in the refrigerator, I mixed the gelatin into the lemon juice, then added the second can of broth and set it to boil. (Hahahaha, that sentence sounded almost sane, didn’t it?)
After it went on ice, it indeed had reached the desired consistency after fifteen minutes. (I almost left it too long and nearly allowed the gelatin to set too much in the pan.) We can safely say that this recipe was spot-on with its time recommendations.
Then the glaze went on, over the lemon slices that were squished into the semi-solid prune slather.
It’s looking… I’d say like some sort of dessert, but how often does chocolate cake get a lemon wedge topping? Plus it just smells like lemony beefy prunes.
I thought there was an excess of prune goop before, but the second coating was even more excessive. We spooned it over repeatedly, trying to get it to set enough to take successive layers. It sort of worked, but there was still a pond of gelatin sitting on the platter at the end.
The gelatin glaze was pretty unappetizing looking, even more so than the prune glaze. The beef broth gave the outer layer a rather unsightly brown color. This was not looking like something I would “proudly serve to company.” Perhaps “proudly refuse to torture my dog with” instead?
When we cut it open, the meat looked very dry. The prune stuffing was completely soft. The interior actually looked like one of those chocolate-coated cakes, run through with kirsch or other fruit filling, that you can find at stores selling specialty European foods. The exterior was still brown and ugly, and a few lemon slices were not doing much to jazz it up or make it look especially appetizing.
However, in spite of the appearance, the meat was fairly moist. There were a number of different flavors. The prune stuffing was sweet and gave a rather nice counterpoint to the pork (although the Ten-Year-Old didn’t like the stuffing). The pork was meaty, and the two outer layers had quite distinct textures and flavors. In order to get a good effect, you had to eat both of them together with the meat. Just the prune glaze and the meat was sweet and oddly textured, and just the gelatin glaze was excessively lemony and sour. The Six-Year-Old identified the outer layers as “barbecue sauce,” although he was less than thrilled when he learned they had the same prunes as in the stuffing.
So much to my surprise, this does not warrant a “disgusting” tag. Deranged, perhaps. Demented. Dangerous. Daffy. But not disgusting!
This insanity was the fault of McCall’s, and originally posted online at Vintage Recipe Cards.