Pork Loin Stuffed with Prunes and Apricots

by Lana Stuart on October 23, 2012 · 20 comments

Pork Loin Stuffed with Prunes and Apricots

My local grocery store, the one I frequent most often because there are few real choices around here, was having a very nice sale on pork loin roasts last week. I don’t often buy a pork loin because with just the two of us it’s much more than we need for a meal. But I was feeling quite autumnal and wanted to do something with lovely dried fruits and a stuffed pork loin seemed just the thing!

Looking over the selection of loins, I didn’t find one close to the size that I wanted so I wheeled my cart right on over to the “service bell” and gave it a press. Out came the nice young man from the back of the meat department to see how he could help me. “I’d like a pork loin about 2 1/2 pounds, please,” I said to him. He kindly pointed me to the case where the pork loins were. “Yes, I saw those,” I said back to him, “but they’re all 5 or more pounds. I want a smaller piece of loin. Just 2 1/2 to 3 pounds.” A reasonable enough request, I thought. He looked at me like I was speaking Cantonese. “That’s what we’ve got over there in the case. That’s the way ‘they’ send it to us.”

I have been here before. I knew better than to try to go further with this. What I wanted to say was, “aren’t you a butcher? You work in the meat department. So cut me off a piece of loin that weighs 2 1/2 pounds. Okay?” It would have been futile. Not long ago I selected a beautiful 3 pound chicken that I wanted to take home to fry. I’m just not good at cutting chickens so I wanted the grocery store “butcher” to cut it up for me. I asked for the chicken to be cut up “for frying” meaning I wanted two breasts, two wings, two legs, and two thighs. What I got was eight randomly hacked up pieces of chicken. Arggghhhh. And don’t even ask me what happened when I asked if they could please “French” some lamb chops. It was embarrassing.

Here’s what I want. I want a grocery store that has a real butcher in the meat department. One who truly knows different cuts of meat and how to prepare them himself. Not just how to display what “they” send for the meat case. A butcher who can tell me where the meat I’m buying came from and where and when the fish they’re selling were caught. I want eggs that taste like eggs and milk that tastes like milk should taste. And while I’m at it, I want produce that still has dirt on it. Greens that haven’t been hacked to pieces and sealed in cellophane bags. Apples and cucumbers that haven’t been waxed and polished until they look plastic. And I want all this from my regular, local grocery store. Not from a “specialty” market that I have to drive an hour one-way to reach. Are you listening supermarket conglomerates?

What I really want is a “Mr. Wyatt’s.” When I was growing up, there was a little bitty grocery store on the town square in Colquitt. It was owned and run by Mr. Wyatt Chambers. The store was actually named “Wyatt’s Grocery” but everybody in town called it simply Mr. Wyatt’s. And when I say little bitty, I mean teeny tiny. I remember that it had wooden floors that creaked when you walked on them. There was one cash register and one bag boy who also made deliveries. That’s right. All you had to do was call up, give your order, and they’d run your groceries right on around to your house.  Mr. Wyatt was the store owner and butcher. And he was good at his trade. All you had to do was give him a general idea of what you wanted and he got right to work on it. I remember many times Mama telling me to “run up to Mr. Wyatt’s and tell him I need enough fill-in-the-blank to feed five people for supper.” Coming right up.

I can’t be sure since I was just a child, but I’d be willing to bet that most of the meat and some of the produce Mr. Wyatt sold came from local sources. And he probably did the butchering himself. It wouldn’t surprise me. And, guess what – the produce actually had dirt on it! Imagine that. Sweet potatoes with some of the dirt they grew in still clinging to the skin. Wouldn’t that be heavenly…

Okay, enough. I know I’ve rambled when what you’re really here for is to get a recipe. So let’s get to it.

Soaking dried apricots and prunes

To make this lovely stuffed pork loin, start by covering the prunes and apricots with hot water. Let them sit for 10-15 minutes and then drain them well. (Note: if your prunes are very moist, they may not need soaking. Use your own judgment.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the bottom rack in the lower third of the oven.

Pork Loin Roast

Use some paper towels to dry the roast before you begin prepping.

Soaking dried apricots and prunes

Stand the roast on its end and insert a thin-bladed knife down the center of the roast lengthwise to create an opening all the way through the meat. Twist the knife gently to enlarge the opening a little.

Stuffing the pork loin

Stuff the length of the roast with the dried fruit alternating prunes and apricots. If necessary, stuff halfway from one end, turn the roast over and finish stuffing from the other end.

Aromatics for stuffed pork loin

Scatter the carrots, celery, and onion in the bottom of a 9×13 roasting pan.

Coat the pork loin with the Dijon mustard mixture

Combine the Dijon mustard, brown sugar, salt, garlic powder, and pepper in a small bowl. Mix well. Rub the roast all over with the mustard mixture.

Pork loin ready for oven

Place the roast on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan. Pour the chicken broth or stock in the pan until it comes just more than halfway up the vegetables. The level of the stock should be below the bottom of the roast.

Cook, uncovered, for 45-50 minutes or to an internal temperature of 150. (The roast will increase in temperature as it rests). Remove the roast from the oven and transfer to a carving board. Tent loosely with foil and let rest for about 10 minutes or until the internal temperature has reached 160 degrees.

Pan sauce for stuffed pork loin

Discard the vegetables. Strain the pan juices into a small skillet or saucepan. There should be at least 3/4 cup liquid. Add a little additional chicken stock if needed. Bring to a boil. Mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the boiling pan juices. Cook, stirring, until thickened.

Plated pork loin

Serve slices of pork loin with a little of the sauce.

Enjoy!

Pork Loin Stuffed with Prunes and Apricots

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6-8 servings

Pork Loin Stuffed with Prunes and Apricots

Make use of succulent dried fruit in this stuffed pork loin. A great choice for a dinner party.

Ingredients

  • 1 boneless top loin pork roast, about 2 1/2 pounds
  • 10-12 dried apricots
  • 10-12 prunes
  • 2 carrots, trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 ribs celery, trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tblsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 cup (more or less) chicken broth or stock
  • 1 tblsp. cornstarch

Instructions

  1. Cover the prunes and apricots with hot water. Let sit for 10-15 minutes. Drain.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the bottom rack in the lower third of the oven.
  3. Stand the roast on its end and insert a thin-bladed knife down the center of the roast lengthwise to create an opening all the way through the meat. Twist the knife gently to enlarge the opening a little. Stuff the length of the roast with the dried fruit alternating prunes and apricots. If necessary, stuff halfway from one end, turn the roast over and finish stuffing from the other end.
  4. Place the carrots, celery, and onion in the bottom of a 9x13 roasting pan.
  5. Combine the Dijon mustard, brown sugar, salt, garlic powder, and pepper in a small bowl. Mix well. Rub the roast all over with the mustard mixture. Place the roast on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan.
  6. Pour the chicken broth or stock in the pan until it comes just more than halfway up the vegetables. The level of the stock should be below the bottom of the roast.
  7. Cook, uncovered, for 45-50 minutes or to an internal temperature of 150. (The roast will increase in temperature as it rests).
  8. Remove the roast from the oven and transfer to a carving board. Tent loosely with foil and let rest for about 10 minutes or until the internal temperature has reached 160 degrees.
  9. Discard the vegetables. Strain the pan juices into a small skillet or saucepan. There should be at least 3/4 cup liquid. Add a little additional chicken stock if needed. Bring to a boil. Mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the boiling pan juices. Cook, stirring, until thickened.
  10. Serve slices of pork loin with a little of the sauce.
http://www.lanascooking.com/2012/10/23/pork-loin-stuffed-with-prunes-and-apricots/

Other stuffed pork loin and tenderloin recipes you might enjoy from around the internet:

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 DessertForTwo October 23, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Oh, I feel your pain. I recently moved from California where all grocery stores are wonderful & accommodating to the midWest, where they are um, not….
Hang in there! :)

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2 Lana October 23, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Surely there must be small, independent stores around here. Surely. I just have to get out there and look for them.

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3 Aly ~ Cooking In Stilettos October 23, 2012 at 4:52 pm

I totally understand. When it comes to certain meats, I’ve been going to the butcher dept. at Whole Paychex or to the Italian Market (best short ribs and pork belly EVER!). I’ve gotten the “huh what?” from more grocery people than I can count and when I talk with management, I’m always given some excuse. I decided to avoid the aggravation, I’d rather take the $$ from the stiletto fund and pay for quality and customer service instead of dealing with clerks that are stuck on stupid.

Now – that my rant is over, I LOVE the idea for this recipe! Perfect for the holidays too :) I wonder if I can soak the fruits in a bit of rum ~ you know me and cooking with “spirits”

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4 Lana October 23, 2012 at 6:45 pm

I know, Aly. It’s not even worth talking to the management. For people in the food business they know surprisingly little about food. Amazing. And soaking the fruit in rum – sounds like a fantastic idea. Maybe even brandy.

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5 Matt mmWine Horbund October 23, 2012 at 6:29 pm

OH! Pork Loin Stuffed with Prunes and Apricots, yes please! Pair with a nice German riesling!

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6 Lana October 23, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Matt – I know so little about wine, but I do know riesling. It’s my absolute favorite. And I think it would be great with this recipe.

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7 Miss P October 23, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Remember Saturdays, when you could get Mr. Wyatt’s brunswick stew? In pint or quart mason jars, on top of the meat case in the back of the store. It was the absolute best. In a very small town, with no fast food establishment, Mr. Wyatt’s brunswick stew on a Saturday was a welcome change of pace.

Oh, yes, the frustration of not having the equivilent of Mr. Wyatt. Don’t go shopping with me. I go straight to the store manager. They love to see me coming.

Miss P

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8 Lana October 23, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Oh my word, how in the world did I forgot the brunswick stew! It was soooo good. And as you said, one of the very few options in a town with no fast food establishments. Which, in retrospect, might not have been such a bad thing. You could either get some of Mr. Wyatt’s brunswick stew or go to Nick and Jean’s. Remember them?

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9 Paula - bell'alimento October 23, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Looks beautiful Lana. I love a good pork loin.

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10 Lana October 24, 2012 at 9:38 am

Me, too, Paula. And I love your recipe with the portabellas and dried tomatoes. Yum!

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11 Barbara | Creative Culinary October 23, 2012 at 11:35 pm

I love this…a good, old fashioned and really pretty simple but fabulous dish. I can not help myself Lana…this is what should be stuffed into something; not Oreos. :)

I so empathize when it comes to a grocery store. Sadly…when you find what you want? Few can really afford it. The effort to feed 300 million people in this country is gargantuan and the experiences I’ve had lately meeting some of these food producers makes one thing clear. They would be happy to do whatever it takes if the consumer is happy to pay for that effort. They simply are not.

We have a small local ‘chain’ of sorts; I think they have three stores. Walking in there makes Whole Foods seem cheap…but they’ll do whatever you want for you!

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12 Lana October 24, 2012 at 9:47 am

Thanks, Barb. This is just my version of a classic recipe; the type that all cooks should have in their repertoire.

You know – I grew up in a farming community. Farming was the major industry in the area. I have to say that, from first hand experience, it’s not that difficult to get products from the farm to the retailer on a local basis. It’s when you start shipping around the world that the huge increase in costs comes in to the equation. And even if the cost is a little higher, I’d much rather support a local farmer making an effort to provide high quality products. I just can’t seem to locate that around here. The so-called “farmer’s markets” in my area truck in produce from hundreds of miles away. That’s not my idea of a farmer’s market. That’s just a grocery store by another name.

Okay-getting down off the soapbox now.

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13 Delishhh October 24, 2012 at 12:40 am

Oh you would love Seattle, we have butchers and fish markets everywhere. You can go do to Whole Foods where they will cut you anythng you want or just go to the local market where there are at leat 5+ butchers for you to choose from. I have to say Seattle has some of the best product in the country, I only buy everything GMO free and organic and when i travel i get pretty frustrated cause i can’t even find organic vegetables. But your pork loin looks amazing.

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14 Lana October 24, 2012 at 9:48 am

I think I would love Seattle! As a matter of fact, the Pacific Northwest is one of the places I’d love to visit. It’s on my bucket list :-)

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15 Missy J October 24, 2012 at 11:52 am

Whenever I come home to Sylvester from PA, I get so frustrated with the grocery stores. If you need something even slightly out of the ordinary, you have to go to Albany for it. I never knew that salami was a specialty item. LOL Every time my parents come to visit, my mom goes crazy at the grocery store with the varieties of cheeses and breads.

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16 Neena October 24, 2012 at 2:36 pm

I bought a pork loin yesterday. It is in the freezer ready to be used for company or the coming holidays. Your recipe is just what I needed, since I wanted to do something different with it.
Do you remember Gran having a meat market in his country grocery store? You have been getting specialty cuts since you were born. No wonder you get frustrated.

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17 Lana October 24, 2012 at 4:30 pm

I’ve always known that Gran was a butcher and, of course, that he and Gama had the little country store. But, I don’t really have memories of it. I must have been really small. But I’ll bet that’s where my aggravation at not being able to get the cuts of meat I want comes from :-) I’m going to start hunting down a real butcher. There’s got to be one here somewhere!

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18 Sues October 24, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Aw, that’s so frustrating! What’s the point of being a “butcher” if all you do is stock the cases!

That said, I would gladly take a 5-pounder of this pork loin :)

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19 Adam October 25, 2012 at 2:12 pm

This looks so moist. Love the idea of adding the prunes and apricot in the middle for a burst of flavor.

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20 Lana October 25, 2012 at 3:33 pm

It is surprisingly moist. As you know, lean pork can really dry out quickly. The veggies and broth in the pan along with the glaze on this roast help keep that from happening.

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