Pork Roast with Spiced Red Cabbage, Apples, and Prunes Recipe

Rôti de Porc au Chou Rouge Epicé, Pommes et Pruneaux

[Pork Roast with Spiced Red Cabbage, Apples, and Prunes]

I don’t normally buy meat at the farmers’ market: I have a good neighborhood butcher that I like — his name is Mario, what’s not to like? — and my usual crop of fruits, vegetables, cheese, and flowers is usually so bulky in my rainbow-colored basket (a birthday gift from my neighbors) that it leaves room for little else, especially if I want to make it home with my shoulder still in its socket, which I sort of do.

But Meg, who shops at the Batignolles too, had recommended the farm-raised chicken from a stall that’s at the far end of the market (close to the Rome metro station) and I was so pleased with its quality that I decided to explore the rest of the selection.

This stall is operated by a couple not much older than I am, who runs a farm in the Ardennes and sells their products at very reasonable prices. I am all for supporting young farmers (they, at least, don’t set buses ablaze) so I stopped by on my Saturday market run and, in addition to four slices of ham (bien fines, s’il vous plaît) and one breaded pork foot (a 1-euro delicacy for which Maxence was quite grateful), I purchased a pork roast.

And on Sunday morning, since I had bought a head of red cabbage and some very fragrant apples from another vendor, this is the dish that naturally came together on my stovetop: the meat was quickly seared so it would remain nice and juicy inside, the cabbage and apples were chopped, combined with prunes and gently seasoned with a few automnal spices, and the whole thing was left to braise in a little red wine until we were ready for lunch.

It is a very satisfying and very easy one-pot dish that should be served with strong mustard to tease the vegetables’ slight sweetness, and my one suggestion of improvement is to brine the meat beforehand in a simple water-salt-sugar solution, so the meat will be salted right down to its heart.

Rôti de Porc au Chou Rouge Epicé, Pommes et Pruneaux

1 tablespoon olive oil
One 800-gram (1 3/4 pounds) boneless center cut pork roast (in French, rôti de porc dans le filet)
Fine sea salt
1 small head red cabbage, quartered, cored, and sliced thinly
2 medium baking apples, peeled, cored, and cut in eighths
8 prunes, pitted and halved
4 whole garlic cloves (with their papery skin still on)
Whole coriander seeds
French four-spice mix (ground nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves)
1/2 cup red wine (I used what was left of an excellent Fiefs Vendéens Gamay, “Gammes d’Eté” 2004 by Domaine Saint-Nicolas)
Freshly ground pepper

Serves 4.

Heat the olive oil in a large cast-iron pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the roast and sear for a few minutes, flipping the meat regularly, until browned all over. Season with salt and set aside.

Lower the heat to medium. Add the cabbage, apples, prunes, and garlic to the pot, stir to coat, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until the cabbage starts to soften. Season with whole coriander seeds, French four-spice (light-handedly), and salt. Stir to combine.

Form a little nest in the middle of the vegetables and place the roast there. Pour the wine over the meat and vegetables, cover, lower the heat to medium-low, and simmer for about an hour, stirring from time to time to make sure the vegetables don’t burn at the bottom, until the meat is cooked through. (I just cut a slice to check when I think it’s done, but if you have a meat thermometer, the official target temperature as given to us by health authorities is 70°C / 160°F — I should however warn you that some cooks think this is too much.)

Remove the lid, turn the heat up to medium-high and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until the juices have reduced by half. Taste the vegetables, adjust the seasoning, sprinkle with pepper, and serve with strong mustard on the side.

  • Alice

    This sounds like a wonderful dish, Clotilde! Let’s see if I have the courage to give it a try in the coming weeks… I need to do something different for a change; yesterday I simmered up a blanquette de veau again, but this has become a bit of an old stand-by for me when I’m not sure what else to make. Plus, I cheat by using court-bouillon cubes! (sacrilège, I know!)

  • http://www.cforcooking.com Jeff

    I wish we had more local butchers in my neighborhood…it really does make a big difference in flavor

  • http://www.serriste.de/foodblog Anne

    I’m eager to try to make red cabbage this fall/winter. Only recently I saw someone (on TV) make red cabbage with honey and figs and my colleague told me her recipe which involved caramelized apples.

    I’m not a big fan of cabbage and its relatives in general, but I love red cabbage and I can’t wait to make some myself.

  • http://www.cocoandme.com Tamami

    Wow, this sounds so wonderful, I might make it! We also have a fantastic farmer’s stall at my Broadway Market, so I’ll get some meat on Saturday, and cook on Sunday! — Clotilde, a question: when brine-ing the meat beforehand, what ratio is the water-salt-sugar solution? and how long would I leave it in this?

  • http://www.foodsource-krista.blogspot.com krista

    This sounds delicious! I also have a local butcher down the street from my house where I buy most of my meats.

  • Blandine

    Plus de raison de se démonter l’épaule en limitant le marché à 10 kgs, le caddie de marché de mémé est “furieusement tendance” ; il a même fait l’objet de shoppings récemment dans la presse féminine et existe avec une grille intermédiaire anti-écrabouillis.
    C’est comme le jour où on achète un
    “cabin luggage “à roulettes, çà donne un coup de vieux, çà fout la honte aux ados mais çà change la vie !

  • kate

    Could this dish be adapted to a slow cooker? I am new to slow cooking and wouldn’t know how to start. It sounds wonderful!

  • http://na-zdravi.blogspot.com/ Dianka

    Looks like the perfect fall dish. What a great idea to sear the roast first and then finish it off in the cabbage. I’ll definitely have to try that, I’m sure it turns out so moist! Yum!

  • Veron

    I love pork! That roast looks really good!! I’m about to put an order in for meat and I think a pork roast will be a part of it.

  • Terry B

    Sounds delicious! I’m not sure I would brine the roast, though. I find that all that salt and sugar can often combine to make various pork cuts all taste like ham.

  • http://lacath.canalblog.com lacath

    ah, le porc et le chou rouge, un mariage parfait! Juste une remarque : je suis intriguée par le fait que tu nous offres là la seule recette de chou rouge cuit que je connaisse où le vinaigre ne fasse pas partie des ingrédients… 1/4 de cup de vinaigre de vin rouge ou de vinaigre de cidre fourinirait-il l’effet que tu sembles attendre du passage en saumure? Ca m’interpele quelque part, comme dit la pub à la télé!

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Tamami – For a light brine, a good rule of thumb is 2 tablespoons coarse salt and 1 tablespoon sugar per liter of water. Boil water, salt, and sugar together to dissolve, let cool completely, and leave the roast in (in a ziploc bag for instance) for eight to ten hours.

    Blandine – J’ai vu ça dans Régal en effet! Le seul problème, c’est les escaliers en rentrant chez moi! :)

    Kate – I have never used a slow cooker so I can’t offer specifics, but I believe that this is the type of dish that lends itself perfectly to this mode of cooking. Perhaps someone else will suggest a slow cooker adaptation?

    Terry B – The meat was fine and juicy as it was, but the cut slices needed to be salted at the table, which is why I thought it might be a good idea to lightly brine it.

    Lacath – Le vin rouge joue ici le rôle du vinaigre (en moins acide), mais on pourrait le remplacer par du vinaigre de de vin ou de cidre, en effet. Je pensais au passage en saumure plutôt pour saler la viande à coeur. Il faudra que je fasse l’essai!

  • http://laurarebeccaskitchen.blogspot.com Laura Rebecca

    Oh my — that looks scrumptious!

  • http://www.missdiane.canalblog.com Miss Diane

    Porc, chou et pommes vont très bien ensemble. Je fais quelque chose de semblable, une recette de Martha Stewart. Très automnal comme plat!

  • http://analisfirstamendment.blogspot.com/ anali

    I don’t eat pork, but that is still a beautiful looking dish!

  • http://www.xanga.com/chef_kayenne kayenne

    Chefs Aki and Alex of Ideas in Food are playing with flavoured brines. I’m considering using a brine of apple juice and black peppercorns for pork. A classic combination, but with promising results. Although as Terry B mentioned, it might end up tasting like ham. Not that it’s a bad thing. What do you think?

  • Patty

    I made this last night for dinner. I did not have coriander seeds, but the dish was still wonderful.

  • http://www.fearfoodandloathing.com PeeP.

    Long time reader, first time commenter…

    I dig on swine and enjoyed your recipe!

  • Carolina

    I’m also a longtime reader and first-time commenter. Just thought I’d comment on the slow cooker adaptation.

    I’d probably sear the meat first, then add it to the slow cooker with the vegetables and cook on low for about 5 hours. Also, it’s important to remember to reduce the amount of liquid when using a slow cooker, so I’d probably use about half of the red wine.

    It looks delicious Clotilde!

  • Vivianne

    It sounds delicious!! I will definetely try to make it. It is a true pleasure to visit your blog. Besides being inspiring to me, it is so nicely formatted, beautiful pictures and the texts are very nice to read.
    Congratulations!!

    Vivianne

  • http://bluekitchen.wordpress.com Terry B

    I just remembered a marinade I’ve used for pork that might serve your brining needs. Don’t have the amounts at hand, but can send them later if you like. Mix red wine, some olive oil, plenty of salt, rosemary leaves [bruise them with a rolling pin first, to release more flavor] and minced garlic.

    And if you think the rosemary would fight with the spices you’re already using, you could leave it out.

  • http://www.dirtysugarcookies.blogspot.com ayun

    I’m a firm believer in purchasing one’s meat from farmers at farmer’s markets, and I don’t even eat the stuff. I just reckon it’s better for the animals, better for the farmers, better for your tastebuds, and better for the world. As I remarked to the Amateur Gourmet, ethical pigs make better lovers.

  • http://www.carablack.com Cara

    Thanks for your tip on the couple from Ardennes! The dish sounds tart yet sweet…The other night my friend made delicious braised endives, caramelizing the onions, a few twists of lemon and this dish reminded me of it…any other recipes, Clotilde for endives?

  • http://www.lindamathieu.com Linda Mathieu

    I love pork with cabbage and apples. My husband doesn’t like it too sweet but I do. Since I am the cook, it is usually sweet.

  • Penny

    I make a similar pork roast. The prunes darken the jus wonderfully. Usually I add quite a lot of carrots and fresh rosemary. For those who don’t use wine in their kitchen, a half cup mixture of balsamic vinegar and chicken broth works well. Last week I skipped the carrots and added chunks of butternut squash (skin on) in the final half hour. Lovely colors.

  • Rose’s Lime

    Pulled out the Cocotte and made this last night with a few variations… used a little bit of cider rather than red wine to suite our 4 year old’s tastes. I seared a loin of Cod and threw it on top for the last 10 minutes of simmering to suit my wife (who doesn’t eat meat other than fish but isn’t squeamish if some bacon or stock flavors her dish).

    Other than the apples disintigrating a little more than I would have liked (I think I let my simmer get away from me a little), this was a fabulous fall dish. Thanks Clotilde.

    You didn’t mention… be sure to have some pickles, ham and cheese on hand for the following day’s cubano sandwich leftovers!

  • Donna Smith-Harrison

    I made a version of this tonight – used a pork loin, because that’s what I had. I also threw about half an onion in with the cabbage and apple and added some balsamic vinegar about halfway through the cooking. I roasted yams and mashed them with butter and S&P for a side. what a beautiful combo that made with the purple cabbage and the brown meat! the hubs was a happy guy!

  • http://www.willows95988.typepad.com French Kiss

    Imagining this hot from the oven with a tad of butter and a cup of tea…does heaven get any better than this!

  • http://kitchenette.blogspirit.com kitchenette

    J’aime beaucouple marché des Batignolles également,même si c’est un peu trop loin de chez moi pour y aller tous les samedis. Je vais essayer de retrouver ces jeunes producteurs, merci!

  • Judy Peck

    Bonjour, Clotilde, from Berkeley, California. I made your pork and red cabbage dish last Saturday. I added an onion and two carrots. It was very good. Can you have an idea of how much of the French four-spice you had in mind? Merci. Judy

  • Ashley

    I’m definitely going to make this when I go home for the holidays, as I’m working/living overseas and with no oven. I have made your cherry tomato and cinnamon jam and broccoli soup (repeatedly), with great success. Thanks Clotilde!

  • nicosian

    she says cook the pork to 160 degrees, but my experience has been that it’s fairly overcooked by that point. if you have good meat from a safe producer, can’t you cook it to around 130 and leave it slightly pink? it’s hard to get reliable info on internal temps for meat in cookbooks, since no one wants to get sued.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Carolina – Thanks for chiming in with a slow cooker adaptation.

    Terry B – I’d love to see the proportions of that marinade if you get a chance.

    Cara – I’m sorry to say I don’t like endives much, so I rarely cook with them at all…

    Judy Peck – I didn’t measure how much I added, but it was very little so as to be just a hint, not an in-your-face flavoring. Perhaps 1/4 teaspoon or so?

    Nicosian – As I mentioned in the recipe, I just rely on my instincts, and I don’t own a meat thermometer. The temperature given in the recipe is indeed the health authorities’ rule of thumb, but it may very well be overcooked by that point — thanks for sharing your experience.

  • catherine

    quelle viande utiliser pour les non mangeurs de porc? what meat would you suggest for those ones who do not eat pork? thank you for your suggestions ;
    choux rouge + ………. ?

  • leslie

    i just made this dish and was largely pleased with the results (followed the recipe almost exactly – substituted golden raisins for the prunes and didn’t have any cinnamon or cloves) but i found the cabbage to be a little bitter – any suggestions for next time? where did i go wrong?
    ps, LOVE the site – just moved to paris and am slowly working my way through clotilde’s eateries… mille mercis!

  • Jon/San Francisco

    This is a superb recipe that I’ve made with pork loin. I haven’t cooked other pork cuts much so I wonder how a boneless blade shoulder cut would take to this recipe? Would you brown first?

    I want to respond to the issue of brining. I don’t care for brining because it changes the meat texture and tends to steam rather than braise or roast, being all too close to the meat one gets in a regular one-stop supermarket. Ever notice how such meat releases puddles of liquid when trying to bown?

    This, I recognize, may be heresy among some foodies. Think of the “wet” scallops you get in 2nd rate fish mongers: not only does it overpower the fresh sweetness of the morsel. (I don’t get the concept of brining fresh turkys since it ends up tasting like those in the frozen food section that are shot with brine. Yuck. I hope it’s just a trend.)

    I prefer salting and peppering meat/poultry and some seafood as soon as I get the meat home and cook in 1-3 days. It preserves and enhances flavor without drowning the meat. I often use one of Julia Child’s pork marinades: crushed bay leaves, salt, pepper, garlic, and pinch of mace.

    BTW, this is a great site.

  • sarah

    i just made this for friends and it was not good, at all, and i was embarrased to be serving it. the flavor was not interesting, or savory. thankfully we had enough mustard to make it palateable, but… yick.

  • lynh

    Hi Clotilde, I just made this. It was great for a nyc winter day and with a salad, so well balanced. I loved how the wine and the french spices and prunes made the cabbage like mulled wine. Perhaps that was because I shredded the cabbage in my food processor – much thinner than slicing it by hand, but I would do that again next time. Sorry sarah did not enjoy it and thanks for the recipe! My friend lived in Provence and she said they had pork almost every night…tonight I felt like I experienced some of that. :)

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