Crown Roast of Pork 101

Photo: Ryan Liebe
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A Crowning Achievement

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A holiday dinner is your chance to pull out all the stops. For this majestic centerpiece, two racks of pork are attached end-to-end to form a crown. (Sure, you can special-order your cleaned and trimmed racks already tied, but why let the butcher have all the fun?) Once you fill the roast with savory chestnut-rye stuffing and pop it into the oven, you can rest easy until it’s time to whip up the gravy and wait for your guests to arrive. When they do, they’ll be dazzled by your delicious feast.

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Partially Separate Chops

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Place pork racks, fat side down, on a work surface. Cut a third of the way through flesh between each rib bone. This will allow racks to fan open into a crown shape (see step 3).

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Thread End Chops

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Position racks as shown, fat sides touching and bones upright. Thread a trussing needle with cotton kitchen twine and horizontally run it through meat just below last rib bone on 1 rack and straight through meat of opposite chop.

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Tie End Chops

Ryan Liebe

Tie chops together as tightly as possible to form a half circle, or half of the crown. Then repeat process on other end of racks to finish the crown. (You can also use this technique on racks of lamb.)

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Tie Bones Together

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Where racks are joined, tie rib bones together. At this point, you can store the crown roast, uncovered, in the refrigerator 1 day. Bring to room temperature before continuing, about 1 hour.

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Season Crown

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Preheat oven to 425 degrees with rack in lower third. Place roast on a flat rack set in a roasting pan; season with salt. Stir together garlic, sage, orange zest, oil, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; spread all over roast. Let stand 30 minutes; prepare stuffing.

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Stuff Crown and Roast

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Fill with 6 cups stuffing; roast 30 minutes. (Tent with foil once stuffing browns.) Reduce heat to 375 degrees; roast until a thermometer inserted down between bones into thickest part of flesh reaches 140 degrees, 1 hour. Transfer to a board; let rest 20 minutes.

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Prepare Stuffing

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Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion and celery with salt until translucent, 3 minutes. Add sage and wine; boil to reduce by half, 2 minutes. Toss with bread, chestnuts, parsley, broth, and juice. Fold in eggs. Stuff crown with about 6 cups (see step 6); roast. While cooked roast rests, bake remaining stuffing at 375 degrees in a buttered baking dish until brown, 20 minutes.

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Make Gravy

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Tilt roasting pan; skim fat from drippings. Place pan across 2 burners over medium-high heat. Add wine and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits. Add 1 1/4 cups broth; return to a boil. Whisk together remaining 1/4 cup broth and flour, and pour into pan, whisking, until thickened slightly, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in butter and accumulated juices from roast, and strain.

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Ready for Dinner

Ryan Liebe

After the crown roast has rested, transfer to a serving platter. Remove all twine. Garnish with sage and kumquats. Use a carving knife to cut roast between each rib for individual chops, and serve with stuffing and gravy. Store any remaining crown roast whole (sliced chops dry out faster) in refrigerator up to 3 days.

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