Pancetta-Wrapped Roast Pork with Blackberry Sage Sauce
For the holiday table, an extraordinary main course is in order. A wrapping of pancetta gives this pork roast a festive look, and the slightly spicy blackberry sauce will be a conversation piece. This is bound to become a family favorite. Serve it with whipped maple sweet potatoes and a simple green vegetables, such as buttered green beans and baby carrots with toasted and chopped roasted hazelnuts.
6 to 8servings
6 to 8servings
Pork Roast
  • One2 1/2- to 3-pound boneless pork roast, excess fat trimmed
  • 1teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1teaspoon minced fresh sage
  • 1teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 14 to 16 slices (not paper-thin) pancetta, about 4 ounces
Blackberry-Sage Sauce
  • 1tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3tablespoons finely chopped shallots
  • 1/2teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 2/3cup hearty red wine, such as Shiraz
  • 2/3cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • Three6-ounce packages blackberries
  • 3tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1/4teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8teaspoon crushed hot red pepper
  • 1 1/2teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water (optional)
  1. To make the pork roast: Brush the pork all over with the oil. Mix the rosemary, sage, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl and rub all over the pork. Unroll each strip of pancetta–it will look like curved bacon. Arrange half of the pancetta over the top of the roast. Using kitchen twine, tie the pancetta in place crosswise, leaving the ends of the roast uncovered. Turn the roast over (don’t worry if it doesn’t look neat). Repeat with the remaining pancetta, tying the roast and tucking in the pancetta as needed. (The pancetta can be prepared and refrigerated up to 1 day ahead.) Let stand at room temperature for 45 minutes.
  2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Place the pork roast on a roasting rack in a metal roasting pan. Bake, rotating the roast every 20 minutes or so for even browning, until the pancetta is browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the pork reads 145ºF, about 1 1/2 hours. If the pancetta is getting too brown, tent the roast with aluminum foil. Transfer the roast to a carving board and let stand for 10 minutes before carving. Pour the fat out of the roasting pan and reserve the pan.
  3. To make the blackberry sage sauce: While the pork is roasting, make the sauce. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed small skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the liquid is reduced to about 3 tablespoons, about 7 minutes.
  4. Add the 2 packages of blackberries, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, sage, salt, and hot red pepper and cook over high heat, stirring often, until the berry juice has big bubbles, about 7 minutes. The sauce should be fairly chunky. Stir in the remaining package of blackberries and cook just until warmed, about 1 minute. Set aside. (The sauce can be made up to 2 hours ahead, stored at room temperature.)
  5. Heat the roasting pan over high heat until sizzling. Add the sauce and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits in the pan with a wooden spatula or spoon. If the sauce seems thin, stir as much of the optional dissolved cornstarch into the sauce as desired and boil just until lightly thickened, about 15 seconds. Adjust the seasoning with balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, salt, and hot red pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  6. Snip off and discard the string from the roast. Carve crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Serve hot, with the warm sauce.
Recipe Notes

Note: The tied-up roast will look unimpressive before baking.  But after the pancetta browns and crisps, the string is easy to pull off and remove, so all’s well that ends well.