It's been too long! I have been insanely busy, and the weather has been just gorgeous lately. The leaves are clinging to the trees, but most have made their way onto the ground, (especially into my yard) though my pin oaks have held on to a lot.
I have been cooking like crazy, trying to squeeze the most out of the last month of farmer's market around here. Let's get right to business with the haul!
We got shallots, garlic, a pear, two apples (Cortland and Johnathon), a squash (only ONE! I held back) some fresh horseradish root, a leek, and a little pork.
I *love* my pork lady. She's fan-freakin'-tastic. I've bragged about her on here before. She treats her animals so well, and it shows in the meat she produces. When I asked her where I could find her meat after the market season ended, she said, "Well, here's the schedule for a winter market we'll be at once a month, but, you know, you can come out to the farm anytime." Now THAT is what I want to hear from somebody who is producing my food!
When I was looking into inspectors in the process of buying the house, someone said, "Tell them that you want to be present for the inspection, and if they say no, walk away. Anybody that doesn't want you to watch them do the job you're paying them for has something to hide."
I'd been wanting to try some shoulder, so that's what I got.
As you can see, it's around 3 1/3 pounds for $13. (She always rounds down. See why I love her?)
Braised Pork Shoulder
I decided to sear the roast and then slow cook it in the dutch oven. I did a little research on dry rubs and discovered that there are many different styles of dry rubs, which vary in the ratio of spices, sugar, and salt.
Who doesn't love carnitas, the Mexican pork shoulder rubbed with chile, cinnamon, garlic, and cumin?
Here's an Asian-inspired style, using ginger, garlic, five spice, and green tea.
This simple but perfect Italian rub is made with fennel, oregano, cayenne, and sea salt.
We're all familiar with a basic grilled pork rub that uses jalapeno, thyme, onion powder, and black pepper.
As you can see, I looked at all of these and decided to make something that took ideas from each, using what I had on hand. So, I started by making my own rub. This recipe would also be great on chicken or other cuts of pork.
- two inches horseradish root, peeled and finely minced (it's very fiberous)
- 1 tbsp. Italian Seasoning
- 15-20 leaves dried sage and oregano from my herb garden
- 3-4 tbsp. smoked paprika
- 1tbsp. dried mustard
- 3/4 to 1 c. brown sugar, depending on your taste. I used a scant 3/4, just enough to bring it together
- 1/8-1/4 c. salt, again depending on taste. most recipes use around 1/3 as much salt as sugar
- fresh black pepper
- 1-3 cloves of garlic, minced
Spread this all over your meat. I could have trimmed a lot of fat off this roast before I put it in the oven, but I didn't. I wanted the fat to flavor the sauce. We removed all fat and connective tissue after cooking, when the meat readily fell apart. I think the sauce was rich and we were still able to remove most of the fat. The meat was quite lean.
You can see that the sugar and salt are starting to pull moisture out of the meat, so the rub doesn't really stay dry. Let this sit for 15 minutes.
Get your pan hot over medium high heat. Use something that has a thick bottom to hold enough heat to sear the meat (which you should bring to room temperature before putting on the rub) but it must also have high enough sides to hold liquid to come around 1-2 inches from the top of the meat. A Dutch oven is a great choice. I read about this pan in Cook's Illustrated and haven't used it yet, but it gets very good reviews and is quite reasonable at $45, though it does come from Walmart. (There are some used on eBay.) Lodge is an American company and makes a beautiful oven at $97.
I used my little LeCreuset, which may have been a hair too small. It gave me a good sear and produced enough liquid. I wouldn't have wanted to use anything much bigger. I'm sorry this is blurry, but here's the meat in the pan.
The sugar gets hot very quickly, so have your liquid on hand. I used a splash of beer, and then added our homemade chicken stock.
I also added some celery, onions, carrots, and garlic.
Covered, and baked for three hours at 275. I pulled the lid off for the last 30 minutes until the sauce was perfect. You could also finish this on the stovetop.
I'm sorry, but I did *not* stage this final product. at all. I took a photo late at night when I finished it, expecting to retake a better one in the daylight. This stuff got scarfed pretty fast, so here's what you get. It was fabulous.
Served over mashed potatoes, rice, or just with crusty bread, this dish is so soothing. It's just what I want this time of year, without being heavy. Just flavorful and filling.
Hey, look how cute my dog has been being.
He's wearing my favorite shirt, and dammit if he doesn't look more adorable in it.
Did you have a good Saturday Halloween? We had a lot of very polite trick-or-treaters!
We munched on chips and dip while they came. There may have been some candy eaten as well...
I will have an audio update for you soon, and until then, can you guess what I have going on here? I'll give you a hint: it's delicious.
Until then, take care, and happy fall!