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Rolled Pork Loin with Brandy-Soaked Raisins (Varkensrollade met Boerenjongens)

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Rolled Pork Loin with Brandy-Soaked Raisins (Varkensrollade met Boerenjongens)

Rolled Pork Loin with Brandy-Soaked Raisins

Photo © Karin Engelbrecht
Rolled pork loin is a popular special occasion cut in the Netherlands, and is often served at Easter and Christmas. Here, we've teamed it with apple, a classic combination with any pork, and boerenjongens, those traditional brandy-soaked raisins. It makes for a succulent one pot dish that's sure to impress your guests, while being oh so easy on you, the cook.

For convenience's sake, we've included a recipe for homemade boerenjongens below. Of course, if you don't happen to have a jar of boerenjongens in your store cupboard, you could use store-bought ones (order online), or simply cheat by soaking some raisins in brandy overnight with a stick of cinnamon, a little lemon peel and a few cloves. Feel free to use any type of carrots or beets for this recipe (we like to mix up lots of heirloom varieties).

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • For the boerenjongens:
  • 1¼ cups (250 g) brown sugar
  • 1 cup (250 ml) water
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 3 1/3 cups (500 g) sultana raisins
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 clove
  • 4 ¼ cups (1 quart/1 liter) brandy
  • For the roast pork loin:
  • 7 shallots
  • 6 carrots
  • 3 beets
  • 3 Granny Smith apples
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/3 cup butter (90 g)
  • 1 (2¾ pound/1¼ kg) rolled pork loin
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup (250 ml) boerenjongens steeping liquor
  • 1 cup (130 g) brandy-soaked raisins

Preparation:

To prepare the boerenjongens:

Add the sugar and water to a saucepan and cook over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.

With a sharp knife, pare off two very thin strips of lemon peel (try not to get too much of the pith, which will add a bitter taste). Add the lemon zest to the saucepan, along with the sultanas, honey, vanilla and spices. Cook on a low heat until the fruit has swelled and softened. Bring to the boil, and then using a slotted spoon immediately scoop the sultanas into a couple of sterilized jam jars (see Tips below).

Now reduce the remaining liquid until it thickens. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Remove the lemon zest and spices. Pour the liquid over the sultanas. Add the brandy. Seal the jars tightly, shake and store in a cool, dark place for at least 6 weeks before consuming. They're even better after 3 months and will keep unopened for a year. Once opened, keep chilled.

To prepare the roast:

Preheat the oven to 320 degrees F (160 degrees C). Peel the shallots and beets and cut into bite-sized wedges. Wash and scrape the carrots and cut lengthways into spiky shards. Peel and core the apples, and cut into small wedges. Mix together the shallots, beets, apples, carrots and ginger until combined. Set aside until later.

Heat a third of the butter in a roasting tin over high heat. Add the pork loin and brown the meat on all sides. Season the pork to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the vegetable mixture to the roasting tin, dot the meat and veg with knobs of the remaining butter and a cup of the boerenjongens steeping liquor and place the roasting tin in the hot oven. Roast for 30 minutes, regularly basting the pork with the liquor and juices.

Remove the roasting tin from oven, add the brandy-soaked raisins to the meat, fruit and vegetables and return it to oven. Cook for another 30 minutes. Baste the roast regularly.

Once the meat is cooked, remove the pork loin from the oven and transfer it to a large cutting board. Cover with foil and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes. Don't be impatient here. If you carve into the roast too soon, the juices will run out and the meat will be less tender and succulent. Once rested, carve the pork and transfer the meat slices to a serving dish, arranging the vegetables and fruit around the sides of the plate. Serve with a side of creamy mashed potatoes.

Tips:

  • Sterilize jam jars and lids by washing them in warm, soapy water, rinsing thoroughly and then allowing them to dry in a warm oven (250 degrees F or 130 degrees C). We prefer to use lots of small jars, instead of one large jar. This way, you can give away a jar or two as culinary gifts, or take advantage of both early and late 'vintages'.
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