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French Style Pork Roast

This is one of my favorite recipes from my cookbook, “Secret Recipes from the Corner Market”. It calls for a pork loin or pork butt roast. I like preparing it with a bone-in pork loin roast; but, as we all know, sometimes when we get to the market, we can’t always find what we want. When shopping recently, I could only find a boneless pork loin roast. Although I think bone-in roasts have more flavor, this recipe produced a tender, juicy, delicious roast.

Do you ever get confused about the difference between a pork tenderloin and a pork loin? A tenderloin is a long, narrow, boneless cut of meat that comes from the muscle of the pig that runs along its backbone. A pork loin is wider and flatter and can be a boneless or bone-in cut of meat. Pork loin comes from the back of the pig.

Depending upon where you live and what supermarket you patronize, to confuse us even more the pork loin roast can have many names, including: center cut pork loin roast, center cut pork roast, pork center loin roast, pork center cut rib roast, pork loin center cut, pork loin center rib roast, pork loin roast center cut, and pork loin rib half. If you have questions, ask the butcher to ensure you are buying the right cut.

French Style Pork Roast Serves 8

This recipe is heavenly. I like to serve it with a green salad dressed with a light vinaigrette, a French baguette, and a small selection of French cheeses, like Boursin, Brie, or Camembert. I made French Style Pork Roast a few years ago and watched my grandson, ten years old at the time, devour it along with French cheeses. It warmed my heart to introduce him to new foods and flavors. I made this recipe a few days ago and served it to our friends, Jim and Toni Brownhill; and they loved it just as much as my grandson.

1 (4 to 4 ½ pound) pork loin or pork butt roast 1 teaspoon minced garlic 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon dried thyme ½ teaspoon large grind black pepper 1 cup chicken broth 1 cup dry white wine 2 tablespoons apricot jam Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut 5 deep slits in roast with a sharp knife and insert minced garlic into the slits. Place roast in a shallow roasting pan.

In a small bowl, combine butter, Dijon mustard, thyme, and pepper. Spread the butter mixture evenly over roast. In a small saucepan, heat chicken broth, white wine, and apricot jam together over a low heat until apricot jam dissolves. Pour this mixture over roast and cook, uncovered, on the center rack of the oven until cooked through, about 1 ½ hours for a pork loin roast or 2 ½ hours for a pork butt roast (20 minutes per pound). Temperature on a meat thermometer should read 150 to 160 degrees F when roast is done. Bone-in roasts will take longer to cook.

Tips on selecting pork: When buying pork, look for cuts with a small amount of fat on the outside and meat that is firm with a pinkish red color. Pork will have better flavor and tenderness if it has a small amount of marbling, small speckles of fat within the meat. Choose packages that are cold and tightly wrapped without tears or punctures. Pork should not be blotchy. Spots indicate that it has begun to spoil. Avoid packages if the meat is pale in color or it contains liquid. Also, avoid meat that has dark-colored bones.

Bone-in pork roasts and bone-in pork chops will have more flavor than boneless but will take longer to cook. Pork products are often injected with water, broth, salt, and extra flavorings. I avoid buying injected pork. To determine if pork is injected, read the ingredient label. Ingredients should be only pork. You may find the words “extra tender” and “juicy” on injected pork. It will also be high in sodium. If the nutritional label indicates a higher sodium count than 100 mg, the pork has been injected. Injected pork will contain too much liquid and may be difficult to sear. Once cooked, the meat may seem mushy and spongy. With the price of meat these days, who wants to pay for water?

Tips on selecting soft cheese: Soft cheeses are usually cut and wrapped once a week. Softer cheeses, like Brie, are cut twice a week. Check the label. It will often indicate both the date and time the cheese was cut and wrapped.

Avoid any packages where the cheese is over-ripe or moldy, except for some blue cheese or expensive Brie that ripen with harmless molds. Softer cheeses should be soft and moist but should not have cracks or be brown in color.

Tips on storing soft cheese: Soft cheeses, like Brie and mozzarella, have the shortest life span of all the cheeses. To extend the life of soft cheeses, wrap them with parchment or wax paper and then a layer of aluminum foil or place them in a jar or Tupperware container. When handled in this manner and placed in the cheese drawer of your refrigerator, soft cheese can last for up to 10 days. Soft cheeses with any sign of mold should be thrown out.

Carol Ann Kates is the award-winning author of cookbook, Secret Recipes from the Corner Market and Insider Grocery Shopping Secrets. She’s an expert in how to shop, select, and store produce for maximizing home cooking outcomes and minimizing time and money spent. As a former supermarket and deli operator, Carol Ann shares grocery-insider wisdom—the same expertise you used to receive when patronizing a mom-and-pop establishment. Contact her at and explore her website,

Copyright 2023 All Rights Reserved Carol Ann Kates

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