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~ Mel's Perfectly-Roasted Rack of Berkshire Pork ~

IMG_0804There are pork roasts and then there are pork roasts.  This is the mother-of-all pork roasts.  This is the best pork roast you will ever eat anywhere.  This is a Berkshire pork roast.  Berkshire pork, also known as Kurobuta pork, is on the menu of many upscale and fine-dining restaurants, like Spago in Beverly Hills, and The French Laundry in Yountville, CA.  The first bite will render you speechless -- it's moist, juicy and tender, with a very rich, refined, luxurious taste and texture.

IMG_0470A bit about Berkshire pork:  It comes from a heritage breed of pig that was discovered over 300 years ago in Berkshire County, UK.  In the USA, the American Berkshire Association only gives pedigrees to pigs imported from established English herds.  It is often referred to as "the Kobe beef of pork" and it's prized for its pink color and rich marbling.  It has a very specific, pleasant taste, not at all generic or mild like "the other white meat" pork.  In the porcine world, pigs really are what they eat -- there is a direct link between a pig's diet and what it tastes like.  Pigs are unique because the type of food they eat IMG_0463gets redistributed into their muscle fiber.  While industrially raised pigs are mostly fed corn and soybeans, Berkshire pigs dine on oats, molasses, fresh fruits and lots of vegetables.  Berkshire hogs are also raised au natural and free from stress, roaming at-will in wooded areas with plenty of water to drink and shade to keep them cool.

IMG_0679 IMG_0619The best tasting pork roast in the world deserves the royal treatment.  I took all the time I needed to beautifully trim, French and tie mine, to ensure a gorgeous presentation. Click on the Related Article links below to read ~ How to: French a Rib Roast ~, and, ~ How & Why to Tie a Rib Roast ~.

Once it's trimmed, Frenched & tied, it's time to Roast:

IMG_0704For the roast:

1  8-pound, 10-rib Berkshire rack of pork, trimmed, Frenched and tied

2  cups chicken stock

Bell's poultry seasoning, no substitutions*

freshly-ground sea salt and peppercorn blend

*Note:  If it has never occurred to you to use poultry seasoning in conjuction with pork, I'm here to tell you the two go extremely well together -- especially Bell's brand.  Theirs is a fragrant herby mixture of rosemary, sage, ginger, marjoram, thyme and pepper, with the emphasis on lots of rosemary.  It's ground to a very fine powder too, which makes it really easy to blend into a pan sauce or gravy as well.

IMG_0874For the port wine pan sauce:

pieces of meat and creamy fat, from trimming the pork roast, no silverskin or tough membrane

all pan drippings, from cooking the pork roast, about 3/4-1 cup

1  cup chicken stock

1/2  cup port wine

poultry seasoning, sea salt and peppercorn blend, to taste

IMG_0715Before starting, let me beg you NOT to do two things:  Do not overseason and do not overcook this pork.  It has such an exceptional flavor, bold seasonings, like fresh garlic and fennel seeds overwhelm it.  Save your salty brines and pickle juice concoctions for "the other white meat".  This pork is not your grandmas pork.  It is divine served pink and medium.

~ Step 1.  To roast the pork:  Place the roast, rib side down on a rack in a 13" x 9" roasting pan to which 2 IMG_0723cups of chicken stock has been added.  Lightly season the top with Bell's poultry seasoning and generously with freshly-ground sea salt and peppercorn blend.

~ Step 2.  Roast, uncovered, on center rack of 450 degree oven for 15 minutes. Turn the temperature down to 350 degrees and continue to roast an additional 50-60 minutes, or, until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat in 2-3 spots reads 138-142 degrees.  

IMG_0757 IMG_0745                                      ~ Step 3. Remove from oven. Transfer pork to a large cutting board, cover with foil and allow it to rest for 20-30 minutes.

~ Step 4.  Transfer the pan drippings to a fat/lean separator and prepare the sauce according to the following directions:

IMG_0869 IMG_0865~ Step 5.  To make the wine sauce: While the roast is in the oven. Cut the pork trimmings into 1"-2" chunks, discarding any and all silverskin or tough membrane as you work. Place in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with steel blade. Using a series of 30-40 rapid on-off pulses, grind the meat.  You will have 1-1 1/4 pounds of ground pork.  Transfer to a 12" skillet.

IMG_0899 IMG_0899~ Step 6. Lightly season pork with poultry seasoning (I use 1/2 teaspoon), sea salt and peppercorn blend (about 20 grinds each).  Over medium-high heat, saute, stirring almost constantly, until pork is not only cooked through, but is "little golden bits swimming in a sea of primo pork fat", about 15 minutes.

IMG_0907 IMG_0913 IMG_0916~ Step 7.  Lower heat to a gentle, steady simmer. Add the wine, followed by the lean part of drippings, followed by the stock.

IMG_0928 IMG_0922~ Step 8. Adjust heat to a gentle simmer, and, in a small bowl, quickly stir together 2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch and 3 tablespoons chicken stock or water until smooth.  Add the cornstarch mixture to the simmering liquid and continue to cook until a nicely- IMG_0937thickened sauce forms, 2-3 minutes.

~ Step 9.  The finished sauce should coat the back of a spoon, be clearishly-opaque and golden in color with little pork bits floating around in it (which will settle to the bottom when sauce is puddled onto each plate at serving time).

Note:  For a more refined presentation (a smooth sauce), the sauce can be strained. 

Taste and adjust seasoning for salt and pepper.  I added no additional seasonings  today.

Slice this perfectly-cooked, exquisite roast into chops...

IMG_0785... Puddle sauce on plates & serve w/sides immediately:

IMG_0840Mel's Perfectly-Roasted Rack of Berkshire Pork:  Recipe yields 10 total, even-sized, 1"-thick chops/2 1/2 cups rustic-style port wine pan sauce (about 1 1/2 cups of sauce if strained).

Special Equipment List:  13" x 9" x 2" roasting rack w/rack insert; 1-cup measuring container; cutting board; chef's knife; food processor; aluminum foil; fat/lean separator; 12" skillet, preferably nonstick; large spoon; mesh strainer (optional)

6a0120a8551282970b0147e13c129b970bCook's Note:  It's really hard to imagine anything better tasting than this very special rack of Berkshire pork served with creamy, mashed gold potatoes, but, if it's beef you love, Click into Categories 3, 11 or 21 for my ~ Perfect Prime Rib (Standing Rib Roast) ~.  

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015) 


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