ZEST - FOOD - DRINK

Blood Oranges: The Festive Citrus

2014-02-18T14:15:00Z Blood Oranges: The Festive CitrusJane Dunne nwitimes.com
February 18, 2014 2:15 pm  • 

In my opinion, blood oranges are the most gorgeous variety of citrus there is.; the deep red color the result of a mutation that appeared in Sicily's cultivated oranges during the 17th century.

Once so exotic Americans rarely saw or tasted them, this small, sweet and nearly seedless fruit is now also grown in California, Arizona and Texas, making them readily available to us in season (December-April). As for the flavor, to me it's incredible, slightly floral with sweet berry undertones. Blood oranges are great in salads and desserts and are the perfect match for pork, duck or salmon.

One blood orange has 130% of the recommended daily dose of Vitamin C as well as potassium and dietary fiber. Even better, it contains the same good-for-you antioxidant found in red wine.

ROAST PORK WITH BLOOD ORANGES (6 servings)

1 (3-pound) boneless pork loin, rolled and tied

6 blood oranges

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 medium-large yellow onions, cut into 8 wedges each

3 fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves stripped from stems and

lightly chopped, plus additional sprigs for garnish

1/2 cup dry white wine (I sometimes use red instead)

1-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock, divided

1 large garlic clove, pressed

Place rack in center of the oven and heat to 450 degrees. Place the pork in a large roasting pan. Rub with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Zest 3 of the 6 blood oranges, using a grater or plane. In a medium bowl, toss onion wedges, the orange zest and rosemary leaves in the remaining tablespoon of oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange onion mixture around the pork. Roast until pork and onions are beginning to brown, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut one of the remaining oranges in half. Squeeze enough juice from it plus the 3 zested oranges to measure 3/4 cup. Discard the pulp. Reserve the last 2 oranges for garnish. Pour the juice into a small saucepan and add wine, 1 cup broth, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard and the garlic. Boil rapidly until reduced to 1-1/4 cups, about 7 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Pour 1/2 cup of the blood orange juice mixture around the pork and over the onions, basting pork with pan juices. Continue roasting, basting often and adding another 1/2 cup of orange juice mixture until thermometer inserted into thickest part of the loin registers 150 degrees, about 30-40 minutes longer, and pork and onions are nicely browned.

While pork is roasting, with a serrated knife, peel the remaining 2 blood oranges, carefully removing the white outside pith. To make "supremes" for garnish, over a small bowl to catch the juices, cut carefully between sections, releasing the orange pieces. Set aside.

Transfer pork to a warm platter and cover loosely with foil. Place roasting pan over high heat; add remaining 1/2 cup orange juice mixture to the pan and the remaining 1/2 cup broth. Boil, stirring, and dissolving brown bits on the bottom of the pan for 3 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened. Taste; add a little more broth and seasoning if necessary. (If you prefer a thicker sauce, as I do, make a slurry of 2 tablespoons cornstarch in 1/4 cup cold water and whisk it in at the last minute.)

Spoon the orange/onion sauce over and around pork. Garnish with rosemary sprigs and the blood orange supremes.

Good accompaniments for this pork roast are browned fingerling potatoes or a spinach risotto.

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