Make the sauce reduction
Tip:The sauce can be made to this point and refrigerated up to 2 days ahead.
Put the cider, bourbon, and chicken broth in a 3- to 4-quart (preferably 8-inch-wide) saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a very brisk simmer and cook until the sauce has reduced to 1-1/4 cups, about 1 hour. Set aside until the roast is done.
Make the stuffing base:
Put the bread on a rimmed baking sheet and let it sit out to dry overnight.
Cook the bacon in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until just crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a large mixing bowl. Pour off and discard all but about 1 Tbs. of the bacon fat. Add 3 Tbs. of the butter to the skillet and melt over medium heat. Add the onions, fennel, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until just softened and lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the bacon.
Melt the remaining 2 Tbs. butter in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the apples and cook, tossing or stirring occasionally, until nicely browned on a few sides but still firm, 4 to 6 minutes. Mix the bourbon with the apple cider and 3 Tbs. water. Carefully add it to the pan, scraping with a wooden spoon to loosen the brown bits stuck to the pan. Cook until the deglazing liquid has reduced and coats the apples, about 1 minute. Add the apples to the bowl. Add the marjoram, sage, fennel seeds, and allspice and stir to combine.
Stuff & cook the roast:
Let the roast sit out at room temperature for 1 hour. If the stuffing base was refrigerated, let it sit at room temperature, too.
Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and heat the oven to 500°F. Season the roast all over with salt and pepper. Put the roast on an oiled flat rack set in a roasting pan or heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet. Cover the bones tightly with aluminum foil. Roast the pork for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir the dried bread into the stuffing base. Pour 2 cups of the chicken broth over the mixture and stir to combine. If the bread immediately sucks up the liquid, add the remaining 1/2 cup broth. The bread should be moist but not soggy. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Take the roast out of the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Remove the foil from the bones and loosely fill the center of the roast with stuffing, mounding it half way up to the top of the bones (don’t worry if the roast doesn’t hold very much stuffing; just put in as much as you can). Cover the bones and stuffing tightly with aluminum foil.
Set a timer for 1 hour and return the roast to the oven. Wrap the remaining stuffing in a double layer of aluminum foil and set aside. When the timer goes off, put the wrapped stuffing seam side up in the oven next to the roast. Set a timer for 30 minutes.
When the timer goes off, remove the foil from the roast and open the package of stuffing so the top can crisp up. Set a timer for 15 minutes. When it goes off, start checking for doneness: Insert an instant-read thermometer into the meat between two bones without hitting the bones. The roast is done when the thermometer reads 155° F. Check the temperature in two or three places. The total roasting time will be 2-1/2 to 3 hours.
Slide a wide spatula under the roast to keep the stuffing in and transfer it to a carving board or serving platter. Tent loosely with foil and let rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, continue to bake the package of stuffing until the top is crisp and then turn off the oven. Leave the stuffing in the oven until ready to serve.
Finish the sauce:
Shortly before serving, reheat the sauce in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in the sour cream and vinegar. Season the sauce to taste with salt, pepper, and additional vinegar. Transfer the sauce and the additional stuffing to serving bowls.
Plate & serve:
Remove the strings from the roast. At the table, carve the roast into chops by cutting between the ribs into the stuffing. Serve the sauce and additional stuffing on the side.
Make Ahead Tips
The stuffing base can be prepared and refrigerated for up to 12 hours. Add the bread and chicken broth just before stuffing the roast.
Look for a big, well-oaked yet balanced Burgundy-style Chardonnay to go with the robust sweet-tart flavors of the crown roast of pork. The Matanzas Creek Winery 2005 Chardonnay from Sonoma Valley makes a stunning pairing.
nutrition information (per serving):
based on 14 servings;
Photo: Scott Phillips