Cranberry and Pecan Crusted Rack of Pork

  • Yield : 8 servings
  • Prep Time : 45m
  • Ready In : 45m
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  • 1 1/2 quarts cranberry juice
  • 12 ounces cranberry vodka (optional)
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 center cut rack of pork, Frenched, with fat and silver skin removed
  • 3 tablespoons clarified butter
  • 4 ounces dried cranberries
  • 8 ounces toasted pecans
  • 8 ounces plain bread crumbs
  • 2 ounces picked thyme
  • 3 ounces clarified butter
  • Wilted Spinach, recipe follows
  • Apple Tart, recipe follows
  • Cranberry Sauce, recipe follows
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves blanched garlic, sliced
  • 3 pounds, loose leaf spinach, washed
  • Salt
  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  • 3 tablespoons butter, plus extra for brushing
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large baking potato, like russets
  • 1 sheet store-bought puff pastry
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon butter, plus 4 ounces (1 stick) cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • 1 cup Riesling wine
  • 2 cups cranberry juice
  • 1 thyme sprig


Step 1

Combine the brining solution ingredients together and cover the pork with the cranberry liquid overnight. 

Step 2

Puree the dried cranberries in a blender with a little bit of water until smooth. 

Step 3

Toast the pecans. Place in food processor and pulse until slightly ground. Add bread crumbs and picked thyme. Pulse again. Add 3 ounces clarified butter until mixture sticks together to adhere on the pork. 

Step 4

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. 

Step 5

After the pork has been brined, remove from the liquid and pat dry. Discard the brining liquid. Heat a large saute pan until hot, add 3 tablespoons of clarified butter and sear the rack on both sides. Place the pork on a meat rack. Spread the cranberry paste on the pork and then top with the pecan bread crumbs. Cover with foil and bake for about 1 1/2 hours or until meat thermometer registers 130 degrees. Remove the foil about 10 to 15 minutes before the pork is done, to brown the pecan crust. Allow the pork to rest 15 minutes before slicing. 

Step 6

When ready to serve slice the rack of pork into 8 slices and plate each piece. Arrange each plate with a Wilted Spinach and Apple Tart. Finish each plate with cranberry pork sauce.

Step 7

Heat 2 large saute pans until hot. Add the olive oil and garlic. Now add the spinach, season with salt and cook until just wilted. Serve immediately.

Step 8

Peel, core and dice 1 apple, saute in butter, season with salt and sugar. Add the cream and reduce by 3/4. Puree until very smooth. 

Step 9

Slice potato into thin slices with mandoline. Cook in boiling water until almost tender. Set aside. 

Step 10

Roll out puff pastry a bit. Score with a sharp knife. With a 2-inch cookie cutter, cut out 8 circles of puff pastry. Place between 2 sheets of waxed paper on baking sheet, weigh down with another baking sheet and blind bake in oven until almost cooked through. Remove from oven and let cool. 

Step 11

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Step 12

Spread a heaping teaspoon of the apple cream on top of the puff pastry. Peel and slice the other apple, and then fan apple and potato slices around the puff pastry, making a pinwheel design. Brush with butter and sprinkle with salt and sugar. Bake for about 25 minutes. Brush with a little more butter and sprinkle with some more sugar and broil for 1 minute until the tarts are caramelized.

Step 13

Saute the cranberries in 1 tablespoon of butter until they start to split, sprinkle with sugar and salt, deglaze with the wine and reduce until almost dry. Add in the cranberry juice and thyme sprig; reduce by 1/2. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve, whisk in the remaining cold butter and check for proper seasoning.

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