Mr. B has a marked proclivity for pork and while he much prefers it when I bread and fry thick chops, he's never disappointed when I make my famous fennel crusted pork roast.

This one is simple to do and takes very little time to prepare. I like to brine my loin overnight for extra juiciness, but it's not necessary. This is best made with a lean pork roast (the big fat loins that you can buy in one 10-12 piece), but I'm guessing that it would be just as delicious with a more fatty cut.

One thing is for sure, don't scrimp on the fennel--it's what makes the dish. And while I waffle back and forth between chutney and apricot jam, I think I favor the apricot (or peach) jam. Leftovers are divine thinly sliced, topped with Swiss cheese and piled between pieces of buttered sourdough and grilled until golden.

Fennel Crusted Pork Loin with Apricot Glaze
1 3lb. pork loin, brined (salt, sugar, water and maple syrup)
1 thinly sliced apple
1 thinly sliced onion
1/4 cup finely ground fennel seed
olive oil
salt and pepper
1/3 cup apricot jam
1 tablespoon orange juice
2-3 shakes hot sauce

1. Pat the pork loin dry and set aside.
2. Lightly coat the bottom of a cast iron skillet with olive oil and layer the onion and apple slices over the bottom of the pan.
3. Rub the pork loin with olive oil and salt and pepper, then roll the entire roast in the ground fennel seed until it is completely covered. Set on top of the onion and apple.
4. Lightly spritz the roast with olive oil.
5. Bake in a 350 degree oven until cooked through and meat is 160 degrees on a meat thermometer.
6. Mix together the apricot preserves, orange juice and hot sauce; spoon over the roast and return to the oven until the glaze is set and firm to the touch.
7. Remove roast from the oven and allow to sit for a few minutes. Slice and serve.


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