[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!