If you’re planning dinner for New Year’s Day, you might want to include this easy and elegant pork roast on the menu. It adds a touch of French flair with very little effort, has a wonderful aroma and tastes delicious!
The recipe is from Laura Calder’s French Taste, a lovely cookbook whose recipes I see featured on a variety of cooking blogs. It features what she describes as a classic French spice mixture called quatre-épices, which simply means four spices.
When I made this, my roast was half the size of the one in Laura’s recipe (I’ve watched her on television often enough to claim a first-name familiarity with her), so I adjusted the amount of the other ingredients accordingly (except for the liquid in the roasting pan). I cooked this roast on Christmas Eve, and we sliced it for sandwiches over the holidays. The fragrance of the spices and rosemary scented the house in a festive way, and the honey made for a crisply sweet outer crust. The pork itself was cooked to perfection – done, but juicy.
The beauty of a roast like this is that, once it’s in the oven, you’re free to do other things. That might be preparing some potatoes and vegetables as a side dish, but I recommend you take a glass of white wine and sit someplace cosy to browse through French Taste for a few restful moments.
Roast Pork with Rosemary, Quatre-Épices and Honey
Recipe from Laura Calder’s French Taste, with the instructions gently adapted.
Quatre-Épices Spice Mixture
- 1 tbsp white pepper (I confess, I didn’t have any, so substituted black pepper)
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated is best)
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
This makes 2 tbsp of spice mixture, which is what this recipe requires.
Pre-heat oven to 400ºF (200ºC)
- 1 boned pork roast, about 3 lbs or 1.3 kg (I used a loin roast)
- salt & pepper
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
- 2 handfuls chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) quatre-épices spice mixture
- 1/3 cup (75 ml) honey, warmed until runny if necessary
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) water or dry cider
Season the meat well all over with salt and pepper. Rub with the olive oil. Mix together the rosemary and quatre-épices on a sheet of waxed paper, and roll the meat in them to evenly coat. Set the meat in a roasting pan, fat side up. Drizzle the honey over top. Pour about 1/4 cup (60 ml) water into the pan and roast the pork for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350ºF (180ºC) and continue roasting until the juices run clear*, about 40 more minutes, adding another 1/4 cup (60 ml) water during cooking if the pan goes completely dry.
I didn’t use the juices with my roast pork since it was for sandwiches, but the recipe says to taste and adjust the seasonings, and then keep the juices warm while you carve the roast. For presentation, Laura suggests fanning the meat onto a platter, then pour the juices over just before serving.
*Note: I roast my pork to an internal temperature of about 160ºF (71ºC), and let it sit a few minutes covered before slicing.