Pork Roast with Mangoes and Leeches

French Fridays with Dorie

Pork Roast Mangoes Lychees Dorie Greenspan -1

When I told my husband Thursday morning what was on the menu for dinner that night he received it with very little enthusiasm:

“Really? Is that what Dorie eats? Do you have to?”

I didn’t quite understand his disinclination, but I too wasn’t very keen to make Dorie Greenspan’s Pork Roast with Mangoes and Lychees. My reason being I’m just not much a fan of pork (or duck) cooked up with fruit when savory is an option. Please keep it off my dinner plate and save it for breakfast, lunch or dessert where it belongs. Also, I’m not that ardent to tinker around excessively with Dorie’s recipes after having committing to cooking my way each and every one of them. (A project we Doristas are a mere four recipes away from completing!

Turns out my husband, a fruit lover at any meal, was unenthusiastic for completely different reasons. I was noticing his picking through the perfectly roasted pork while staring intently at the puddle of fruit sauce,shuttling it around with his fork. Taking another bite, my non-native-English-speaking husband finally offered up his judgement:

“This is pretty good baby, but I don’t see any leeches.”

I did not think it possible but in that very moment I fell just a little more in love with him.

Not because he had given me a much needed five-minute laugh at the end of my very stressful day. But rather because I even when believing he was about to sit down to a side of leeches with his Pork Roast with Mangoes, he dutifully did so.

He trusted me.

Pork Roast with Mangoes and Lychees

Pork Roast Mangoes Lychees Dorie Greenspan -2

I cruised the Doriesphere last week for clues as to how everyone else was doing with their prep for the recipe and heard the usual Dorista rumblings of various ingredient substitutions, cut-of-meat changes and method hacks. “Oh heck”, I thought, only slightly more colorfully, “if they are going to make this many changes, I might as well do the same and be done with it.” It would certainly save me a lot of time trying to track down lychees after work!

All day I plotted to edit, substitute and adapt my way around this recipe and eventually morph into my favorite weeknight dinner: “Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Mustard Sauce.”

I often find myself jealous of fellow Doristas for the freedom they exhibit approaching these recipes. I understand, however, that this freedom was mothered by Dorie Greenspan herself through writings and descriptions that present technique while encouraging the reader to play around and use what is at hand. (Although I highly doubt she would quite understood my effort  at adapting her dinner entree recipe into a dessert. )

Ultimately, I overcame my urges to adapt and was very pleased with the results. It turns out that cans of lychees are easily found if your supermarket has an Asian section. My fear that mangoes would a seasonal impossibility was unfounded. Turns out that differing varieties make them available year round. (I think frozen mango chunks would have worked just fine as well.) My fear of this dish being overly sweet was misguided as the vinegar, lime juice, and white wine did their job and balanced it perfectly.

Pork Roast with Mangoes and Lychees

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4-6 Servings

Pork Roast with Mangoes and Lychees

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's recipe which can be found here.

This is what you will need:

  • 1 2- to 2½-pound pork loin roast, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, split and thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • ½–1 teaspoon piment d’Espelette or a good chili powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into thin strips
  • 10 lychees, peeled and pitted if fresh, drained if canned.

This is how you make it:

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Pat the roast very dry with paper towels and set aside. Heat a Dutch oven or other heavy oven-going casserole with lid over medium-high heat and pour in 1 tablespoon of the oil. When it’s hot, put the pork fat side down in the pot and cook for a couple of minutes, until the fat is browned, then turn it over and brown the other side. Transfer the roast to a plate, season with salt and pepper, and discard the oil.
  3. Return the pot to the stove over low heat. Add the remaining oil. When warm, toss in the onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Turn up the heat and pour in the vinegar. When the vinegar has nearly evaporated pour in the wine and let bubble for 30 seconds, then add soy, lime juice, and honey. Bring back to a boil, stir in the piment d’Espelette, add the bay leaf, thyme, mango, and lychees, and give the pot another minute at the boil.
  4. Slide the roast into the pot fat side up and baste with. Cover the casserole and place int the oven. Allow the roast to braise gently for 30 minutes, then check its temperature: you’re looking for it to measure 140 degrees F at its center (and no more!) on an instant-read thermometer. The roast is likely to need a total of 40 to 50 minutes in the oven depending on its size and how cold it was when you started the braise. It’s important to check early, since pork varies.
  5. Pull the pot from the oven, transfer the roast to a cutting board, cover it lightly with a foil tent, and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes, during which time it will continue to cook (its temperature will probably rise another 5 degrees or so).
  6. While the roast is resting, taste the sauce and season if needed. Concentrate the flavors more by boiling it for a couple of minutes but not so much that the fruit breaks down.
  7. Slice the roast, which makes 6 to 8 ample servings, and spoon the sauce to the plate, drizzling liquid over the meat.


This Roast Pork with Mangoes and Lychees was an assignment for French Friday’s with Dorie, a cooking group working its way through Dorie Greenspan’s culinary tome “Around My French Table”. We generally avoid including the recipes in our posts. However, wherever there has been a significant adaptation by me or where the recipe has already been publicly posted by Ms. Greenspan or her publishers or by hundreds of other bloggers, or it is, in fact, not much of a recipe at all but rather a methode, I will either include it here (adapted) or provide a direct link to it. Please feel free to contact me via the link provided on my page if you need any assistance finding a French Friday with Dorie Recipe. You should buy the book though.

It will change your life as it has mine.

About Trevor Kensey

To be truthful, I don't know what “Sis. Boom. [blog!]" means either. The name implies something explosive just happened I suppose I would like it if each post would make made a small 'boom' in your day or at least a fizzle. Even though a recipe is included with every post I have a hard time calling this a "food blog" or even myself a "food blogger".

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  1. I think I just feel in love with your husband too. I laughed out loud when I realized that he was going to brave eating leeches just for you! What a sweetheart! (Hear that Bill.) Well, I’m glad you had a good laugh and a good dinner.

  2. I’m glad you had a good laugh with your dinner and also enjoyed the recipe. It looks quite delicious and the plating is gorgeous.

    • Thank you! This type of meal is my favorite even though it isn’t so spectacular a presentation! I wish I could have added a side of David L with it but will live vicariously through yours!

  3. I think if I had actually found lychees, Bill could have made the same mistake (the first time I made a dish with penne and Havarti, he thought I was serving him fish!). His interpretations have given me some belly laughs. Glad you were able to choke down some of this pork with fruit afterall—Dorie did not disappoint!

  4. Mary Hirsch says:

    I’d say your partner gets the “What a Guy” Award this week. Anyone who would knowingly and then willingly sit down and eat leeches goes way beyond trust. And, it’s a very funny story. I swear that all the rest of you sneaked another mango into this recipe. I would have liked to have more mangoes with my pork but there just wasn’t enough for each serving (in my opinion). No leeches, double the mangoes? Thanks for your brilliant reaction to my remarks regarding Adam’s “Mimi Critique.” Kathy also agreed with you. You and she are both right – Mimi and her entire clan are over the top. I have read her blog almost since the beginning and cannot believe she pulls all that off almost single-handedly. And, the “cover pose” was a little much. However, I thot the critique was more ridicule than a constructive assessment of poor graphic design. Adam nailed the reaction of many of us, I just wish with his creativity and enormous talent, he could have pulled it off a little better, in a classier way. That’s why I like this crazy Piglet contest – nothing about it is really fair in that “contest rules” sort of way.

    • Piglet is entertainment and nothing else. People seeking serious literary reviews should seek out the New York Times. The contest is inherently a snarky affair. If you read the comments you will see that regular Piglet readers understood this. It was not until Mimi got ruffled and sent her followers to Piglet that Piglet controversy ensued. Even her husband seemed to understand the ridiculousness of assigning judging to a single person for each round. (But that is what makes it all so fun too.) I am eternally grateful to you for turning me onto Piglet. Its just the kind of failed seriousness I love to encourage. (And try to mimic here on Sis Boom Blog.)

  5. That’s adorable! I’m going to use this as an example for Kevin the next time he is dubious about a dish I’m serving. “Trevor’s husband would eat it for him.” Of course, you have presentation in your favour and no gluten-free, vegan restrictions. As for going rogue, à la Cher, my mother taught me to always try a recipe as written the first time. It’s her voice in my head (or on the phone) that keeps me from wandering off too far.

  6. This was super – one of my favourites. LOL – another “leeches” person (see Betsy’s post). Your husband must really trust you if he thought he was up for a dish of leeches!

  7. Ha! When I first read the title on the notification email I was sure it was a typepo ……. 🙂

  8. Happy you and your love enjoyed it. Beautiful dish.

  9. This made me smile! My husband dutifully eats much I put in front of him, but I’m sure he would draw the line at leeches. Your meal looks wonderful and I’m glad you both enjoyed it.

  10. You had me hooked at the “Is that what Dorie eats ?”. Yes, the trust extends to Mrs. Greenspan in an almost frightening- but utterly deserved- way. I just adored this post. Simply fabulous and touched my heart. And those photos are insanely good. Nice job indeed ~

  11. You lucky, lucky man. I’ve never known such trust and if you’d told me you were serving leeches I would have started out all “Ewwww” on your. I’ve never tried lychees from a can but I adore them fresh. This dish is going to be mine when the winter is over and the new fruit season begins.

  12. Your leeches/lychees story is better than mine! Hilarious. And what faith he has in you to serve something delicious even if he envisioned something else. Howard would never be so loyal to my cooking. Great post.

  13. Again you have me laughing out loud! Bill would not have been at the table if he thought I was serving leeches…hell he wouldn’t eat the Salmon Tartare…and he loves salmon! I love that your hubby was willing to take a bullet for you! Beautifully photographed, as always!! It looks amazing! Happy weekend, Trevor!

  14. how sweet and endearing of Sina! I think mostly we stick to the recipes as a group and don’t change it too much, but what an adventure it all winds up being for each of us!

    I actually used lychee juice in the sauce, even if I forgot to mention it, so the flavor was there and that works for me. I think frozen mango would have worked here too!

    your mustard sauce looks great though! 🙂

  15. Beautiful story, beautiful husband and got to love English as a second language. Glad this ended up being a hit for you all. I am beginning to be a fan of this fruit/meat thing. Four more to go!

  16. Amy Andrews says:

    Ha! Awesome. What a guy! 🙂
    Wow only four more to go – hooray ffwd’ers!

  17. Oh that’s hysterical. I love your husband a little more too! And being married to a non-native-English-speaking husband myself, I’m also very familiar with how these little misunderstandings can develop.

    Mine has been a pretty darn tolerant taster these past few years but I think that he would have revolted had he thought that I was trying to feed him leeches:-)

  18. I trust you too. GREG