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Pork Roast with Walnut-Pomegranate Filling

Fall 2003

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Pomegranates become available in late fall just in time to grace holiday tables—all too often as decorations. For this festive roast the fruit is used in three forms: as a thick, sweet molasses for the filling plus whole seeds and juice for the sauce. Slicing through the roast reveals a colorful pinwheel of crushed walnuts mixed with the pomegranate molasses.


Pork Roast with Walnut-Pomegranate Filling

Makes: 8 servings

Active Time:

Total Time:

Ingredients

Pork & Filling

  • 1/2 cup shelled walnuts
  • 4 tablespoons pomegranate molasses, (see Note), divided
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 2-pound boneless center-cut pork loin roast, trimmed

Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds, (1 large fruit; see Tip) for garnish

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a roasting pan with foil. Coat a rack with cooking spray.
  2. To prepare pork & filling: Toast walnuts in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool. Place the walnuts in a sealable plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. Transfer to a medium bowl and mix in 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses, oil, garlic, 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper.
  3. Using a sharp knife, make a vertical cut two-thirds of the way to the bottom of the pork. From there, slice outward horizontally to about 3/4 inch from the sides. Unfold the pork.
  4. Place the pork between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet or heavy skillet, pound the pork to an even 1/2-inch thickness. Remove the plastic wrap. Using a spatula, spread the filling over the surface, leaving a 1-inch border. Starting at the short edge, roll the roast up fairly tightly, completely enclosing the filling. Tie the roast at 1 1/2-inch intervals with kitchen string.
  5. Season the roast with the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper and coat with the remaining 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses. Set the roast seam-side down on the prepared rack. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 155°F (it will increase to 160°F as it rests), about 1 hour 10 minutes. Transfer the pork to a clean cutting board; tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare sauce: Combine pomegranate juice, broth, honey and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until the sauce has reduced to 1 cup, 15 to 25 minutes. Mix cornstarch and water in a small bowl; add to the sauce and cook, whisking, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.
  7. Remove the string and carve the roast into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Serve with the sauce and garnish each serving with pomegranate seeds.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 4. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 8 hours. The sauce (Step 6) can be made ahead: cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days; reheat before serving | Equipment: Kitchen string
  • Note: Pomegranate molasses has a bright, tangy flavor. (Don't confuse it with sweet grenadine syrup, which contains little or no pomegranate juice.) Find it in Middle Eastern markets and some large supermarkets near the vinegar or molasses. To buy: Adriana's Caravan, (800) 316-0820, adrianascaravan.com; Kalustyan's, (212) 685-3451, kalustyans.com.
  • To make your own: Simmer 4 cups pomegranate juice, uncovered, in a medium nonreactive saucepan over medium heat until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 45 to 50 minutes. (Do not let the syrup reduce too much or it will darken and become very sticky.) Makes about 1/2 cup (25 calories per tablespoon). Refrigerate the molasses in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
  • Tip: To seed a pomegranate and avoid the enduring stains of pomegranate juice, work under water. Fill a large bowl with water. Hold the pomegranate in the water and slice off the crown. Lightly score the fruit into quarters, from crown to stem end. Keeping the fruit under water, break it apart, gently separating the plump seeds from the outer skin and white pith. The seeds will drop to the bottom of the bowl and the pith will float to the surface. Discard the pith. Pour the seeds into a colander. Rinse and pat dry.

Nutrition

Per serving: 298 calories; 14 g fat (3 g sat, 7 g mono); 72 mg cholesterol; 16 g carbohydrates; 26 g protein; 0 g fiber; 238 mg sodium; 534 mg potassium.


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Recipe Categories

Servings
8 or more
Main Ingredient
Pork
Preparation/ Technique
Roast
Meal/Course
Dinner

Season
Fall
Winter
Type of Dish
Main dish, meat
Ethnic/Regional
American
Ease of Preparation
Moderate
Total Time
More than 1 hour
Publication
Fall 2003
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