When Michelle Huneven started thinking about recipes to serve at a fund-raising dinner that she was to cook for her church, a friend suggested this traditional French country dish. It can be made with prunes or a combination of prunes and dried plums. (Prunes are dried plums, but not all dried plums are prunes.) Huneven especially likes good dried Angeleno plums, which have a nice, bright tartness. If you're not cooking for a crowd, this recipe divides easily.
3 cups prunes, pitted, or combination 1 1/2 cups prunes and 1 1/2 cups dried plums 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 3 (3-pound) boneless pork shoulder roasts 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and crushed Salt Freshly ground pepper Port wine Stock, optional
Place prunes in bowl and cover with lukewarm water. Add balsamic vinegar. Cover and soak 3 hours or overnight.
Remove strings binding roasts and rub all sides with garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Lay roasts flat and place thick row of soaked prunes down middle. Roll roasts around soaked fruit and tie carefully, neither too tightly nor too loosely. If prunes fall out, stuff back in and tie roast lengthwise to hold inside.
When all 3 roasts are tied, brown well on all sides over medium-high heat, about 15 minutes. Place roasts in large roasting pan, well apart from each other. If there are extra prunes, arrange around roasts and add small amount of soaking mixture to bottom of pan.
Roast at 350 degrees. After first 40 minutes, baste every 15 to 20 minutes until meat is done, about 2 1/2 hours. Remove string before serving. Cut into slices. To make sauce, degrease roasting pan. Deglaze with wine. Place over medium heat, add stock and stir, scraping to loosen cooked-on bits, adding more stock and/or fruit soaking liquid until there is small amount of dark sauce.