We prepared a crown roast for a SavorSA get-together recently. I'd never made one, though I'd thought about doing it for years. It turned out well and wasn't difficult to make, especially as good meat markets and butchers will either have the crown roasts on hand or prepare them (by shaping and tying the roast) for you.
What the butcher does is take a couple of lengths of bone-in pork loin, trims it of some fat. Then, the rib ends of the chops are frenched, or closely trimmed to expose several inches of the ribs. The butcher also cuts little notches between ribs to make the strip of ribs bend more easily. Also, these can be guides as to where to carve. Then, the butcher stands the ribs up on the meaty ends and ties the roast (securely, you hope) into a circle.
Your part is easy. Take the roast home, season it, put stuffing in the center and put it in the oven. And, of course, take it out at the right time! I bought an 8-pound roast with 12 chops in it, and it fed seven of us generously, plus there were leftovers.
Here are the steps. (Also, click here
for general tips on making a good roast of any kind.)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Unwrap roast and set it in a large roasting pan. Season it with salt and pepper (or try Tyler Florence's Pork Loin Seasoning Rub). Let loin sit awhile to bring it to room temperature, or close.
- Stuff the center with Jalapeño, Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing. This will give you a good-looking presentation, juicy stuffing and helps push the roast into a round shape. (Some recipes say to add stuffing an hour and a half or so into the baking, but I put it in right away and was pleased with the results.)
- Top the stuffing and the ends of the ribs that stick up in the air with foil. About 15 minutes before the roast is done, take the foil off the stuffing so that the stuffing browns.
- Put the roast in the oven; you might have to lower the rack to accommodate its height. Put the meat thermometer into the thick part of the meat. You want it to read at 155 or 160 degrees, depending on how done you want the pork. The 8 pound roast I made took about 2 hours and 20 minutes to roast. I took it out at about 156 degrees and let it sit for about 20 minutes. It was cooked through, maybe with just a hint of pink. You can take the foil off the rib ends now.
- Parade the roast around the house so that everyone sees its beauty. (Or, invite them into the kitchen.)
- We let the roast sit 20-30 minutes to redistribute the juices. If you want to make gravy, take the roast out of the pan and put it on a large plate in a warm place to rest. Then, proceed with making gravy.
- Take the stuffing out of the roast and put it in the center of a large, preferably warm, serving platter
- Cut the strings off of the roast with a kitchen scissors.
- With a sharp carving knife (I used my French knife, which worked fine) slice off as many chops as you have guests (these will be big chops). Arrange them, ribs toward the center and pointing up, as much as possible, over the stuffing. Put a serving fork and spoon on the platter so guests can lift off a chop and spoon out some stuffing.
- Hint: If you want to further enhance the presentation, either on the roast or the chop plate, make little bunches of parsley and put tiny grape tomatoes on them: It’s Christmas-y and pretty.
- What about those paper booties that we see on crown roasts or racks of lamb? I discussed this with someone who, as do I, considers these things. We agreed that they might be a little passé. If you want them, you can find them in a well-stocked supermarket (ask the butcher, too). Or, make some yourself out of pretty gold foil Christmas gift-wrap – passé maybe, but fun!