Monday, January 10, 2011

Sunday Dinner: Roast Pork

As I'm usually cooking for one, I haven't cooked "big meat" very often. I rely mostly on steaks, burgers, fish filets, roasting small chickens or grilling and baking parts. I've never roasted a whole turkey before! I'm the baker on holidays and I never think of making big whole game birds at other times of the year. Being around larger cuts recently through cooking classes, I'm learning to debone, pound, tie, stuff, roll, etc...  I have lots to learn about cuts and grades and what comes from where on an animal.

It's a cold Sunday and a snowstorm is on the way. Well, 3"- 6" in North Carolina is a major storm!  Memories of France--cooking class, open-air markets, spice, game, vegetable and cheese vendors at les halles---are fresh in my mind and I was inspired to cook a pork shoulder, also oddly called a Boston Butt. "Why is a shoulder a butt? Because they butt into things with it? I guess a butt is really a rump." I'll keep my musings to myself.

I felt kind of chef-y today--I didn't measure anything or use a recipe. It's a turning point! I just followed a whim and layered the flavors.

For 4 people, or a few meals for the week, buy a 2.5 to 3 lb pork shoulder

Simple ingredients: Yukon Gold potatoes, carrots, fresh thyme, jarred Herbes de Provence. I also used a yellow onion and some rosemary. Honey and dijon mustard for the rub. Hard cider + water for the base of the sauce.

Thyme leaves stripped from their stems.

Sea salt that I brought back from Brittany, freshly ground black pepper, the herbs and a bay leaf.

Peel and quarter the veggies, and tie two bundles of thyme/rosemary/bay leaf for flavor.

Rub the meat with djion mustard, herbs and S&P

Brown on all sides, in canola oil on the stovetop.

Place the browned pork on the bed of veggies, pour in a cup of hard cider, half a cup of water, and roast in a preheated 300 degree oven, low and slow...for about 4 hours. Not much attention needed--baste every now and again, and turn the meat over once halfway through the cooking time.

The meat will be fork tender and the veggies will have absorbed tons of flavor from the sauce.

I preferred chunks for this presentation, but you can shred the pork more finely for "pulled pork." Side dish, dePuy lentils simmered in stock with shallot, thyme, S&P.

I invited my neighbor Marie over to thank her for keeping an eye on my place while I was in France, and to toast her birthday. She brought Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, and we dined and chatted for 3 hours. Life is good. Level & Plumb!


  1. That same storm is heading our way in New England tomorrow night - - think I'll head to the grocery store today for some "big meat!"

  2. Go for it, Mary Ann!! There's nothing like cooking armoas and a snowstorm ;-) Let me know how it turns out~

  3. Funny, cousin, but I'd never roasted a turkey before this Christmas! Your pork looks yummy. Maybe I'll try cooking some tomorrow so I'll be all set for hunkering down in our snowstorm.

  4. These photos look like they are from a cookbook. I see a book in your future. New home and new foods!

  5. Old dawgs can learn new tricks, cousin! Kudos for your turkey roasting!

  6. Lis! Not sure where my path is leading, but I'm having fun and "seeing better" now that I can pay more attention. Thanks for the compliment ;-)