Juniper-Rubbed Pork Loin with Prunes and Savoy Cabbage Recipe

Juniper-Rubbed Pork Loin with Prunes and Savoy Cabbage Recipe
Staff Writer
Pork Loin

Sara Remington

Pork Loin

Maybe we all have an inner Alsatian peasant longing for a dish just like this. As nights get colder and colder, the fruits of autumn — newly dried prunes, cabbage, and a harvested hog — are woven together with the wild piney flavor of juniper berries. Dried berries work very well, but ripe, juicy juniper berries lend a hint of sweetness that elevates this pork loin dish. Freeze any extra-ripe berries. They freeze beautifully.

Adapted from "The Wild Table" by Connie Green and Sarah Scott.


For the juniper rub:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons juniper berries*
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 1/2- to 3-pound boneless pork loin

For the prunes and savoy cabbage:

  • 4 slices smoked bacon (about 4 ounces), cut into 1/4-inch strips**
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 medium head savoy cabbage, cored and cut into 1/4-inch slices***
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 6 ounces pitted prunes, cut in half

*Note: Be sure to crush the juniper berries completely to release the flavors. 

**Note: Pancetta can be substituted for the bacon. 

***Note: Regular cabbage can be substituted for the savoy cabbage. Be sure to slice it thinly, and cook it for a few more minutes before adding the wine. 


For the juniper rub:

Place the salt in a small bowl. Using a mortar and pestle or a mallet, crush the juniper berries and peppercorns. Add to the salt. Crumble the bay leaves and add them, along with the garlic, to the bowl. Mix everything well. 

Press the salt mixture evenly over the entire surface of the pork loin. Place in a shallow pan, cover lightly with parchment paper or plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before roasting. 

For the prunes and savoy cabbage:

Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Place the bacon in a large braising post or dutch oven medium heat. Cook the bacon until golden brown, about 6 to 7 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pot using a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Leave the bacon fat in the pot. 

Place the pork loin in the pot and brown it on all sides, approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Remove the pork loin from the pot and set aside. 

Place the onion in the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is tender and translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cabbage to the pot, stirring to combine it with the onion. Add the salt and pepper. The cabbage will begin to wilt and shrink as it starts to cook. Stir in the wine. Turn up the heat to medium high and cook until the wine is reduced and almost gone. Add the broth, prunes and reserved bacon to the pot and mix well. 

Place the pork loin on top of the cabbage mixture. When the broth is bubbling, cover the pot with a lid or aluminum foil and place it in the oven. Roast for 30 minutes covered, then remove the lid or foil and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the pork loin is 140–145 degrees. 

Remove from the oven. Remove the lid or foil and tent the pot loosely with foil. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving. 

Click here to see the Hedgehog Mushroom and Turkey Pot Pie recipe.

Juniper Shopping Tip

Keep both fresh herbs and dried herbs on hand. Dry herbs will last a long time, while fresh herbs have a short shelf-life.

Juniper Cooking Tip

If you want the flavor of herbs in your food without the actual pieces, wrap them in cheese cloth and cook; discard before eating.