Wednesday, February 13, 2013

pork of my heart

i recently had the pleasure of preparing a special birthday dinner for a friend. when she asked me i was a little bit hesitant, but i am so glad that i said yes.

being in the event business herself, pilar was a dream client. she swung by my work with a little list that included a few foods that she wasn't interested in and finished with this, "i love pork and pork products." here's what i came up with:

the menu

* candied bacon, two goat cheeses; one creamy, one crumbly, rosemary seasalt walnuts, pomegranate seeds, crackers and assorted acme breads 

* pumpkin soup with sage-parsley-miso & pine nut pesto

* baby spinach & mixed green salad with endive and apples with apple cider vinaigrette and maple candied pepitas

* spice roasted pork shoulder with mashed sweet potatoes and roasted brussels sprouts

sounds good right? well, despite all of my experience in the kitchen i did not have confidence cooking a roast, so i called my longtime friend matthew in seattle to ask for help. i consider him to be something of a pork expert. he walked me through the candied bacon and pork roast. here's how you do the roast:

spice rub for pork 

3/4 c. sucanat

3 T smoked paprika
3 T chipotle powder
3 T kosher salt
2 T ancho chili powder
2 T cinnamon
1 T cumin

12 cloves garlic, sliced

one pork butt aka pork shoulder


1. using a whisk combine all ingredients for the spice rub.

2. being mindful to never double dip, rub pork butt all over with a generous amount of spice rub. using a small sharp knife make little cuts into the meat and press garlic slices in. ideally do this step at least an hour ahead of time. put roast into a deep pan tightly covered with foil. 

2. heat oven to 450 and bake at that high heat for 30 minutes. then lower the heat to 300 and cook for up to 6 more hours. 

after cooking gently this way the meat will shred into tender, succulent ribbons. 

this thursday is valentines day. you might want to make something special. 

there is nothing that says "i love you" like slow roasted meat. maybe pick up some flowers on your way home from work.

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