Friday, March 12, 2010

The Last Roast of Winter

Two days ago, during the  false spring, I made Caesar salad, now, in the cold and dank waning days of winter, I'm roasting a rather large slab of pig.  Not at all unhappy about  this, as I have a lot of work to catch up on, and I see days ahead of pseudo pulled pork, pork fried rice, bean, and other dishes requiring little time and energy from the cook.  But first I have to roast the pork, and I am running late.  Should take less than two hours to cook, but that doesn't count the time it takes to heat the oven and season the meat.  I really should have come straight home from Key Food, but that didn't happen.  If you're a freelancer, you know that sometimes the call of some  semblance of a social life overrides any other considerations.

Poke the pork, which is a 3 pound boneless center cut, all over with a sharp knife, then shove garlic slivers into the holes.  Rub all over with salt and pepper.  With a smaller piece of meat--or more than two eaters--I would use more intriguing spices, but I want the leftovers to be adaptable, not assertive.  Place in a roasting pan, fat side up, then into a 450 oven. Pour a half cup of red wine Samuel Smith's Organic Cherry Ale that just walked in the door with Bruce over the meat. 

Cut some russets in to eighths, then in half.  Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary.  After twenty minutes or so, douse the pork with more liquid (I've finished the ale, so it's time for red wine for me and the pig), and lower the heat to 325.  After 15 minutes more, put the potatoes in the oven.

Take deep breaths, then turn to the choux a la creme (creamed cabbage to you, mac). Shred half a green cabbage, toss in a wide pan with a couple of tablespoons of butter.  After 15 minutes or so, as it starts to soften, sprinkle with caraway seeds, salt and pepper, and begin feeding it heavy cream, maybe a quarter cup at a time.  Stir occasionally.

Keep dousing the pork (you will probably use a total cup and a half or so of liquid).  Flip the potatoes as they brown.  The cabbage will be done when little liquid remains an it looks elegantly suave with cream. (Depending on the depth of your love for cream, you might use could be one-half to one full cup.). The cabbage will likely be done first, with the meat and potatoes following not long thereafter. The meat is done when its internal temp reaches 150, about an hour and 45 minutes. Let meat rest for ten of fifteen minutes.  Check the potatoes for doneness.  Pour liquid from pork pan into a pot.  Cook down until glossy, adding a bit of thickener (I adore Wondra), if you'd like.  Slice, serve with gravy, and look forward to days of porky goodness.

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I'm a ninth-generation Brooklyn native living in Manhattan.