8 garlic cloves, peeled and cut into large slivers
About 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
About 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
About 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice (optional)
How to Make It
Put figs, sugar, anise, 1 tbsp. thyme, and 1 cup wine in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until figs are just tender when pierced, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool.
With a small, sharp knife, make 16 evenly spaced lengthwise cuts into roast, each cut about 1 in. long and 1 in. deep. Insert a garlic sliver, then a fig half into each cut, closing meat over figs; make cuts a little bigger if needed. Set aside remaining garlic and figs and their liquid.
Preheat oven to 325°. Using kitchen twine, tie pork crosswise at about 1 1/2-in. intervals and lengthwise twice to form a neat roast. In a small bowl, combine 1 tbsp. thyme, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, and the oil. Rub all over roast.
Heat a 12-in. frying pan over medium-high heat. Brown pork all over, turning as needed, 8 to 10 minutes total; adjust heat if needed to keep meat from scorching. Transfer pork fat side up to a 9- by 13-in. baking pan.
Reduce heat to medium. Add reserved garlic to frying pan; cook, stirring often, until light golden, about 1 minute. Pour in remaining wine from bottle and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon. Pour mixture over pork and cover tightly with foil.
Bake pork until almost tender when pierced, 2 1/2 hours. Stir reserved fig mixture into pan juices; bake, covered, until meat is tender, 15 to 20 minutes more.
Spoon pan juices over pork to moisten, then transfer meat to a cutting board and tent loosely with foil. Skim fat from pan juices. Pour juices with figs into a large frying pan and boil over high heat until reduced to 2 cups, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 tsp. thyme. Taste and season with lemon juice and more salt and pepper if you like. Pour into a gravy boat. Remove twine from pork, then cut meat crosswise into thick slices. Garnish with thyme sprigs and serve with sauce.
Make ahead: Prepare through step 3 and chill airtight up to 1 day.
i haven't tried this recipe yet, but i'd like to offer this: instead of browning the meat in a frying pan, then transferring to a baking pan, go with a dutch oven. by using just one pan for browning and baking, you another layer of flavor that you'd otherwise lose from browning in the frying pan first.
so, now i'll go and try my hand at this recipe and savor the flavor in my lil dutch oven. happy holidays!
Made it two years ago and now I'm making it this year for Christmas Dinner. Im going to be serving it with Tradition Southern Style Collard Greens with Smoked Neck Bones and Roasted Red Potatoes. This dish goes really well ith the Cloudline Pinot Noir
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