Not serving turkey this year? We have the perfect alternative! This stuffed pork loin is both simple to make and colorfully festive. And don’t waste those pan drippings! Serve it with a tangy cranberry gravy made right in the roasting pan, for maximum flavor and easy cleanup. Find a fresh pork loin from a Georgia Grown farmer to complete your mini Thanksgiving feast and show some love to the many food producers of our state. Our friends at Savannah River Farms offer a boneless pork loin for pickup, available in the Augusta and Savannah areas, and look for other producers, such as Thompson Farms, Riverview Farms, or Comfort Farms, at your local farmers market or on the Georgia Grown website.
4 – 5-pound boneless pork loin
¼ cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup dried apricots
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, or freshly chopped rosemary
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon pecan or canola oil
1 cup chicken stock
¾ cup cranberry juice
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using a sharpening steel or the handle of a wooden spoon, poke a hole in the center of the pork loin. Move the utensil around to make the hole a little bigger and be sure to go through the entire loin. Combine the apricots and cranberries. Using your fingers and the spoon handle or steel, press the apricots and cranberries into the cavity. Push all the way to the center then repeat from other end, making sure that the loin is filled evenly throughout. You should be able to feel the fruit when you press on top of meat, so you can tell if cavity is full.
Rub loin with oil and season generously with salt and pepper and one teaspoon of the thyme. Bake in a roasting pan or dish that can sustain direct heat on stove. Roast about one hour or until internal temperature reaches 155 degrees. Remove from pan and cover with foil to rest. Internal temperature will reach 160 degrees while resting.
For the cranberry gravy:
Whisk together room temperature or cold chicken stock, cranberry juice and cornstarch. Place roasting pan over medium heat. Whisk cranberry juice mixture into the pan drippings, scraping to release the stuck-on bits, or fond, from bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened. Slice pork and serve with gravy.