Crown Roast of Pork, Dirty Rice, and Lemon-Buttermilk Chess Pie - The Perfect Dinner Party

After reading The Pat Conroy Cookbook for my Kitchen Conservatory book club, which has an entire chapter dedicated to Frank Stitt, I knew we needed to host a Southern-themed dinner party. Craig loves to mix it up with dinner guests and indeed we did. No one knew anyone else and these are friends from all parts of our lives. His toast posed the question what wine, red devils, secret dinners, tennis, and pigs have in common? One of our guests quickly and correctly guessed those are the connection between us, and Craig proceeded to share the bonds of our friendships. Everyone clicked perfectly, and we laughed so hard, fascinating conversation abounded, and as Connor pointed you, “you guys sure were loud.” Delectable food, some mighty tasty juice (wine), but best of all, truly the perfect dinner party thanks to our magnificent friends.
Our menu is below and the Pork Crown Roast Stuffed with Dirty Rice and Creole Mustard Sauce, loosely based on an ancient Gourmet recipe, incredibly easy to prepare and fabulous to present. The dirty rice calls for a traditional roux, but I could not bring myself to do all that oil. I am quite proud that I had the patience to successfully prepare the roux with not one drop of fat. And NO NO NO giblets in my dirty rice. (Technically, it's quite far from authentic, but no one complained). While the pork is the centerpiece of the meal, the lemon-buttermilk chess pie was my favorite part of dinner , modified from Cooking Light, more lemony than the original recipe. I am not a dessert person, but it is tart, light, and just divine, what you’d expect of a perfect Southern pie.

Highland’s Bar & Grill Pimento Cheese
Funeral Pickled Shrimp
Spiced Pecans
Louis Roederer Brut Champagne

Springtime Cream of Asparagus Soup

Crown Roast of Pork with Creole Mustard Sauce
Low Country Dirty Rice
Green Beans Y’all Won’t Believe

Lemon-Buttermilk Chess Pie

Crown Roast of Pork and Creole Mustard Sauce
Serves 12

2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoons vegetable oil
a 12-rib crown roast of fresh pork (about 6 3/4 pounds)
Dirty Rice Stuffing (recipe below)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup 1/2 and 1/2
2/3 cup Creole mustard
flat-leafed parsley sprigs for garnish

In a small bowl combine the thyme, the salt, pepper to taste, and the oil and rub the mixture all over the pork, patted dry. Arrange the pork on an oiled round of heavy-duty foil slightly larger than the bottom of the pork in the middle of a lightly oiled shallow roasting pan and fill the center of the crown with some of the stuffing, mounding it. Roast the stuffed pork, the stuffing covered with another oiled round of foil, in a preheated 450°F. oven for 20 minutes, reduce the heat to 325°F., and roast the stuffed pork until a meat thermometer registers 145°F. Transfer the pork to a platter, cover with heavy-duty foil and let it stand for 15 minutes.

In a 2-quart shallow baking dish bake the remaining stuffing in the 325°F. oven during the last 30 minutes of the pork's roasting time.

While the pork is standing add the wine to the roasting pan, deglaze the pan over moderately high heat, scraping up the brown bits. Add 1 cup water and boil the mixture until it is reduced to about 1 1/3 cup. Add the 1/2 and 1/2, boil the mixture, stirring, until it is reduced to about 1 cup, and whisk in the mustard and salt and pepper to taste.

Discard the foil from the stuffing, arrange the parsley and decoratively around the pork, and serve the pork with the mustard sauce and the remaining stuffing.

Sorta Dirty Rice

1 1/2 cups short-grain rice (I use brown rice)
About 4 cups low fat/low sodium chicken stock
1/2 lb. Italian sausage
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 rib of celery, chopped
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallion greens
cayenne to taste
S&P to taste

In a heavy saucepan combine the rice and 2 1/2 cups chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and cook the rice, covered, for 15 minutes, or until it is tender and the stock is absorbed. Brown rice will take longer and may need more stock. Keep an eye on it.

In a medium skillet, cook the sausage until it is no longer pink; drain on paper towels. Wipe out the skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, and sauté the onion, pepper, and celery until soft.

Heat a heavy skillet, preferably cast-iron, over high heat. Reduce the head to moderate and add 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour. Stir constantly with a wire whisk, scrapping the flour down the sides of the pan. If the flour begins to brown too fast, remove skillet from heat, lower heat, then continue cooking and stirring. Cook for about 20 minutes, until the flour has the color of milk chocolate. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE YOUR STOVE’S EXHAUST FAN ON. Trust me on this.

Add the sautéed vegetables, the sausage, and 1 1/2 cups of remaining stock, and simmer for about 20 minutes (add more stock if it thickens too much) to make a gravy.

In a large bowl combine the rice, the gravy, the scallion greens, the cayenne, and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. The rice may be made 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled. Let the rice return to room temperature before stuffing the crown roast.

Glorious Dessert - Lemon-Buttermilk Chess Pie


  1. Wow! That was so fabulous. The food were so amazing and of course it looks so delicious indeed. Love to try it at home too. Thank you so much for this wonderful blog.

  2. Lizzie, thanks for the comment. This is one of the most impressive dishes you can make - and SOOO easy. Glad you enjoy blog. A fun project.

  3. Hello...I don't really know how to post here, but I would like to try the Green Beans Ya'll Won't Believe recipe. I am including my email address:, but I am posting as anomymous, because I don't understand the profile selections. Thank you in advance for the recipe. btw....I am cooking the crown roast of pork for Christmas.
    Paula Simon



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