Crown Roast of Pork With Dirty Rice Dressing

Serves 8
By: Chef John Besh

A crown roast is a spectacular centerpiece for a large buffet spread. It's also pretty impressive when brought to a holiday table on a large platter. It is made with two racks of lamb, veal, or pork, tied together to form a circle. Ask your butcher to prepare and tie the pork racks for you, planning on one rib per person. Then, assemble the stuffing, bake, and serve it forth! I just love rice dressing (“stuffing” to some of you) as it so reminds me of my childhood, its flavor reminiscent of our boudin sausages. As the pork roast renders and browns, the dressing will absorb all of its wonderful flavors.

For the dressing:
1 pound fresh pork sausage, casings removed
1 pound andouille sausage, chopped
1/4 cup bacon drippings
1 onion, minced
1/2 cup chicken livers, chopped
1 stalk celery, minced
4 green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups uncooked jasmine rice
1 teaspoon pimentón
4 cups chicken broth
Freshly ground black pepper

For the crown roast:
1 pork crown roast, tied
2 tablespoons butter, softened
Leaves from 1 sprig fresh thyme
Freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 375°. For the dressing, brown the pork sausage and andouille sausage in the bacon drippings in a heavy skillet over high heat, stirring constantly. Once the sausage meat has browned, add the onions and continue stirring for another 3-5 minutes, then add the chicken livers. Make sure the livers have a chance to cook for a minute or two. Then add the celery, bell peppers, green onions, garlic, and pepper flakes and cook until soft.

Add the rice and pimentón and stir well so that the grains of rices are coated with the fat. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

For the crown roast, rub the roast inside and out with soft butter and season generously with thyme, salt and pepper. Place the roast in a deep roasting pan and fill the center with the rice dressing. Wrap the ends of each rib bone with foil to prevent burning. Secure with butcher's string. Cook for 1 hour, or until the pork roast reaches 145° on a meat thermometer and is a deep, honey brown.

Remove the string from the roast, slice, and serve one chop per person along with some succulent dressing.