1st December 2015 Debra

Herb-Roasted Rack of Pork with Morel Cream Sauce

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This rack of pork gets much of its flavour from an aromatic paste of garlic, herbs, and fennel, so be sure to rub the meat with the paste a day ahead to give it plenty of time to penetrate.

For the pork (Waterall’s obviously!)

2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
1/2 Tbs. ground fennel seed or 2 tsp. fennel pollen
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 6- to 8-bone rack of pork, chine bone removed, bones frenched, and fat trimmed to 1/4 inch

For the sauce

1 oz. dried morels
3/4 cup dry white wine
1-1/2 cups lower-salt chicken broth
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. heavy cream
1-1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
2 tsp. cornstarch
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Season the pork

In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, garlic, sage, thyme, fennel seed or pollen, 1 Tbs. salt, and 1/2 Tbs. pepper to form a paste. Rub the herb paste all over the pork roast. Put the roast bone side down on a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Roast the pork

Two hours before roasting, remove the roast from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F. Roast the pork until it’s golden on top, 20 to 30 minutes. Lower the heat to 350°F, and continue roasting until a thermometer inserted in the center of the roast reads 130°F, 20 to 30 minutes more. Transfer the roast to a carving board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest 15 to 25 minutes.

Make the sauce

While the roast is in the oven, soak the morels in 1 cup warm water until soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Lift the morels out of the water, gently squeezing the excess back into the bowl. Cut any large morels into bite-size pieces, and set aside. Strain the liquid through a coffee filter set in a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl; set aside.

After transferring the roast to the carving board, pour off and discard any fat from the baking sheet. Add the wine to the baking sheet and scrape up the browned bits with a wooden spatula. Transfer the liquid to a small, wide saucepan and boil until reduced to about 1/3 cup, 3 to 5 minutes. Strain through the fine-mesh strainer and return to the pan.

Add the morels and their soaking liquid, the broth, 3/4 cup of the cream, and the thyme. Boil until reduced to about 2 cups, about 15 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch with the remaining 2 Tbs. cream, and then whisk this slurry into the sauce. Simmer briefly until thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Slice the pork between the bones into chops and serve with the sauce.

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