Crown Roast of Pork


[Update Dec 2012: There are some slight updates to this recipe now available at: Crown Roast of Pork – Revisited]

It’s always a good thing to have that recipe in your back pocket – you know the one – the one that you’ve made so many times that you could do it in your sleep and the one that everyone raves about each time you serve it. In our house, that go to recipe elicits cheers from Emma. Probably appeals to the princess in her. It’s a crown roast of pork.

We don’t serve this often, although the first few years, we did – in fact, it’s now an annual tradition for us for Christmas Eve – but how it came about was a bit of an accident. G, a huge fan of turkey, asked for one many years ago and of course, I obliged. Prior to his request, I don’t think I ever tried to make turkey, and as it was early on in my foray back into cooking, I decided I’d do the turkey by the book.  The temperature listed in the recipe, that is.  I’m embarrassed to say that our turkey was nowhere near cooked through and it went back in while we dined on a dinner of sides.

To regain my kitchen cred, I gave a go at a recipe I stumbled across in First Magazine back in December 2001. It looked impressive and I was certain if I could pull it off, my turkey fiasco would be forgotten. Never had I even heard of a crown roast of pork, but it sure looked good.

Since then, as I mentioned, it has become an annual family tradition. Some years, we even have it twice! I’ve received requests to prepare these for friends and family (and once, six (!) for a special event). Although I haven’t had a chance to get photographs (foodie-worthy ones anyway), this is a pretty smashing looking roast when it’s finished.  In fact, it’s worth googling crown roast of pork to see a few images just before you get started.

A crown roast is actually a rack of pork that has the bones cleared of meat (known as frenched), and then tied into a circle with the bones pointing upward, forming what looks like a crown.

Some important things to note about preparing a crown roast of pork:

  • this is a big roast. The smallest crown roasts that I’ve seen in all the years I’ve been making them is about 10 bones. And, it’s not something your butcher will necessarily have in stock on a whim. Call ahead and they’ll prep it for you.
  • you can get them hollowed in the centre (so they can be stuffed) or not. I always get mine not hollow and make my stuffing separately.
  • the butcher will tell you that you can count on two bones per person. Unless you have really voracious guests, chances are the majority will manage one only.

You will look like a superstar when this roast makes it to your table. No one will believe how easy it was. And, I will get pictures at some point of this roast. It’s just never lasted long enough for me to manage just quite yet!

Crown Roast of Pork

(serves 12)

  • 10-15 bay leaves
  • 1 (12-14 bone) crown roast of pork
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • a couple of tablespoons each of (dried):
    • thyme
    • paprika
    • marjoram
    • savory
    • sage

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Place the bay leaves on a rack in roasting pan and place roast on top. Combine the garlic and herbs together. Rub oil, garlic and the herb mixture on to the roast. Cover the tips of the bones with foil so they don’t burn.

Roast uncovered for 15 min. Then reduce the temperature to 375F, loosely cover the roast with foil and pop it back into the oven until the roast is ready. The rule of thumb I work by is 25 min @ 400F per 500g (~1 pound) of roast or when thermometer reads between 150-160F. Baste every 20-30 minutes.

Remove from oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing into chops.


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