Apricot Glazed Pork Roast
In my opinion, apricots are one of the most beautiful and kitchen cooking friendly fruits available. Especially when it comes to cooking or glazing all kinds of meats. Whether beef, poultry, pork, seafood, or fish, I find myself often using apricots in my recipes in quite a variety of different ways and forms. This recipe offers a fabulous apricot glaze that is sweet and tangy with a bit of a hot 'n spicy (yet delicate) after taste offered by the chipotle powder.
This recipe is meant for those who feel a bit more comfortable in the kitchen. While apricot glaze is fairly easy to make, it is one of those recipes that can be honed to one's own tastes and textures and therefor is, to me, a creative outlet and relaxing experience for those going into the process with no fear. This is not just for those who already have an idea of what they are doing when it comes to glazes, it is also for those with enough confidence or enough desire to play around and be imaginative with ones ingredients. If you know what a glaze is and or have eaten food that has been glazed, you're good to go.
Whatever you do, please don't be one of those people that paints on some glaze at the very end and attempts to pass their concoction as an apricot glazed pork roast. Not only is that cheating, but it undermines the cooking process and swindles dining companions out of what could have been an orgasmic experience.
For the Roast itself:
- Pork roast, 5lbs, not to be confused with a pork loin. It will come tied in string to keep it together as it has no bone and has been rolled as it is not technically one solid cut of meat. You want your pork roast to be about room temperature before cooking. I say about because if your room is usually at 50 or 90 degrees, I'm not talking to you, I'm talking to the people that enjoy a 70 degree Fahrenheit room. Be sure to rinse your pork roast well under water and DON'T let that water (it will be dripping from your hands as well as the pork roast, obviously) get on ANYTHING if you can help it. This will probably be just enough for 6 people, unless they eat like birds, in which case you'll definitely have leftovers.
- Frying pan and about a tablespoon of cooking oil for searing your pork roast.
- Shallow roasting pan lined well with tin foil (I double foil) to catch drippings below the broiling/roasting rack which has been coated well with Pam Olive Oil Spray or some such spray used so that food doesn't stick to your cooking surface. The foil lined pan and Pam laden rack, will save you hours of soaking and scrubbing after all is said and done (best advice I've ever been given for cooking pork roasts, and for that matter, pork anything).
- Tongs for flipping the pork roast when it's time to baste.
For the Apricot Glaze, in order of appearance:
- Small pot - not tiny, just small, use your judgement. If you find the pot you're using seems too small or too large, switch pots.
- Plastic spatula for stirring - there's going to be a lot of stirring. If you're one of those people that leaves their spatulas in the pot when they're away from the stove, please invest in a set of spatulas that are heat resistant and specially made for being left unattended. Don't take this advice personally. I am one of those people.
- Apricot spread or jelly - 2 small jars will do, as this will allow (at least for this particular recipe) enough for diners to use as a condiment on their slices of pork roast once it has been cut and served.
- Stick of butter - the whole thing, not one of those silly half sticks. I used sweet cream salted organic butter at room temperature.
- Salt - to taste, which could mean anywhere from none to, I suppose, a whole tablespoon (but that would be crazy). My personal preference is to use a pinch, as in how much I can pinch between my thumb and pointer finger.
- Water - about a cup. Some people prefer to use chicken or vegetable broth, even beer or bourbon, but I don't always have stock or broth on hand, and it is rarer that my pantry or cabinets hold beer or bourbon (unless, of course, I'm making chocolates, then you might find some liquor, or a lot). Water works just fine. In fact I tend to like using water a bit better, and find there's less overall fussing over flavors when I use it.
- Chipotle powder - to taste. I can see where some home chefs could be quite generous with chipotle powder in their apricot glaze, depending on one's mood. It's going to give a sensation of heat in the back of the throat about two seconds after tasting. How much heat experience and for how long you want it to last, that is up to you. Choose wisely, you can't go back.
- Pepper - to taste. I find that cracked pepper is best. I like to grind it myself and usually don't put in more than a couple of full turns. Enough to give my apricot glaze a hint of pepper but not enough for anyone to know it's in there.
- Sage - fresh and organic is best, in my opinion, and definitely chopped fine. Use as much or as little as you like. If you're not sure, start with a little, and add more as you desire.
- Basting brush - For basting your pork roast in apricot glaze. Please don't use a brush who's bristle hairs shed. Nobody likes that.
Set your oven at 325 degrees F. While your oven is heating, prepare your roasting pan and set it aside. Then put oil into your frying pan and turn the burner on. Then wash your gorgeous pork roast (keep those strings on!). Pat it dry. Wash your hands WELL. By this time your frying pan should be heated, so place your rinsed pork roast into the frying pan. Start searing it on all sides (use high heat so that it can actually sear; you're not cooking your roast right now, you're searing to keep the juices locked in). Once seared, place it in your roasting pan. Don't put it in the oven yet, you'll want to glaze it on all sides first.
For the glaze: You can make the glaze before or after the above pork roast preparations. I usually do it before hand, but honestly I don't think it matters either way. In your pot, you want to scoop out both jars of apricot spread or jelly (whichever you're using). On a small burner, on medium to medium low, start heating it up, all the while stirring with your spatula. Once it starts to warm up and soften, I go ahead and put the heat on low. Then I add the butter and stir until it's all melted. Add salt. Stir. Taste. It should not be anywhere near your finished flavor yet, but you really do need to know whether or not you've added too much salt. Now add your cup of water (more or less is up to you). Stir in fully. Add pepper. Stir. Add chipotle powder. Stir. This is where I usually taste and then accommodate my taste buds, making any modifications I would like. I let it do it's thing for a while (still on low heat) while I chop up my sage. I throw that in and stir. Then I taste and decide on whether or not I want to add any more sage or anything else.
Don't worry if the glaze seems too liquidy at first. In fact to me, it's beneficial to begin your basting process with a more liquidy glaze as it will reduce just enough, and just in time, for the final glaze. Whatever you do, please don't be one of those people that paints on some glaze at the very end and attempts to pass their concoction as an apricot glazed pork roast. Not only is that cheating, but it undermines the cooking process and swindles dining companions out of what could have been an orgasmic experience.
And now back to the pork roast: Baste your pork roast with your fabulous apricot glaze all over. Cook with the fattiest side up. Baste all over every 15 to 20 minutes, bottom side first (this is where your tongs come in - for flipping, you don't want to pierce your pork roast with a fork).
If you've done a perfect job with your basting, you'll notice that your apricot glazed pork roast will have an almost burnt look to the fattier parts on top and a bit on the sides, about half way through full cooking time. This comes from the sugars in the apricot glaze you've been basting it with. A delicate and gorgeous caramelization happens to the fat in this basting with glaze process. It is not getting burnt or being cooked on a temperature that is too high. Nor will it taste anywhere near burnt. Do not under any circumstances decide that perhaps you should turn your pork roast over and cook it fat side down. This almost burnt look means you are an awesome cook. The flavor in these places will be unbelievably wonderful. Serve them to the ones you love the most.
In general cooking time for pork is about 20 minutes per pound. My five pound roast took about three and a half to four hours to cook. The shape will make a difference in cooking time. If you have a meat thermometer that has not been through the dishwasher (in other words one in proper working condition), you'll want the middle of the pork roast to register at a temperature of 170 degrees F. Once done, take your pan out of the oven for one final thick glazing and let it set on your stove top for about 20 minutes before setting your apricot glazed pork roast on a platter to cut and serve. Don't forget to cut off all the strings before slicing.
Our favorite side to go with the apricot glazed pork roast? Perfect creamy buttery mashed potatoes.
Have any glazing experience or tips you'd like to share? Our readers want to hear from you. Or maybe a favourite side? Let us know in the comments below.