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Cooking the Book: “One Big Roast, Three Great Meals” (Pork Edition)

2012 November 12

There’s an entire chapter in the cookbook I’m cooking my way through this year called “One Big Roast, Three Great Meals.” It offers first a recipe for cooking a giant chunk of meat — pork butt, a whole chicken, pot roast and leg of lamb — for a “Sunday Roast” type of dinner and then using the leftover protein as the jumping-off point for thee more recipes. I think the actual intent is to only make two of the three recipes so there are always options to try something else the next time around, but I’ve got eight pounds of pork butt right here and it sure looks like four meals to me!

It’s the same concept as the Chicken Challenge I levied upon myself a long, long time ago in The Original Kitchenette but without being a wuss an starting off with a grocery store rotisserie chicken.

I think any of these recipes could also make for a great dinner party meal for four or six and if you still have leftovers from that, well, at least you have a few ideas for ’em.

To kick this thing off, we’ve got Slow Roasted Pork with Peach Sauce for our “Sunday Roast,” followed by Cuban Sandwiches, Spicy Mexican Pork Stew and Pork Fried Rice (how international!), not necessarily in that order.

The Good

I have to say, this pork recipe is delicious. Meltingly tender, easy to pull out the bone and cut up, incredibly moist — everything you want it a pork roast. It’s relatively simple and doesn’t require any particularly special ingredients — even fewer if you don’t make the sauce. And while I don’t think it necessarily needs the sauce — it was by no means dried out — I liked the sauce a lot (and so did Mr. Kitchenette, who is not always a meat-and-fruit-sauce fan). The peach sauce is nice and not overly sweet, which I appreciate, and it could probably stand on its own if you wanted to make it with pork chops or something.

The Bad

It is a bit of a time suck, so read the recipe all the way through before you do anything.

It’s also going to take up a ton of space in your ‘fridge, both for the curing and then to store no small amount of leftovers, so plan accordingly.

The Leftovers

This is easily one of the fussier in this cookbook (so far). There is rubbing with salt and sugar, then there is the overnight resting of pork, then 5 to 6 hours of cooking and then another hour of resting (insert your favorite “that must be one tired pig!” joke here). So it basically takes all weekend, if you’re talking about buying and curing the meat on Saturday and roasting it and having your first meal from it on Sunday.

That said, it’s mostly totally inactive time. Rubbing the pork down with salt and sugar took all of 10 minutes before its lengthy visit to the fridge, once it’s in the oven, it doesn’t require that much attention or basting. And I think it’s worth it, on its own as a great weekend dinner and/or with the fact that you’re really cooking enough for three or four more meals.

For the results with the actual leftovers, tune in later this week!

Slow Roasted Pork with Peach Sauce

from Cooking for Two, 2011

Serves 2, with leftovers

We prefer natural to “enhanced” pork, though both will work for this recipe. Add more water to the roasting pan as necessary during the last hours of cooking to prevent the fond from burning.

Ingredients

for the pork roast:

1 (6- to 8- pound bone in pork butt)

1/3 cup brown sugar

Kosher salt and pepper

for the peach sauce:

5 ounces frozen peaches (about 1 cup), cut into 1/2-inch chunks, or 1 fresh peach, but into 1/2-inch wedges

1 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 Tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar

1 sprig fresh thyme

3/4 teaspoon whole-grain mustard

Method

for the pork roast: Using sharp knife, cut slits 1 inch apart in crosshatch pattern in fat cap of roast, being careful not to cut into meat. Combing brown sugar and 1/3 cup Kosher salt, then rub mixture over entire roast and into slits. Warp roast tightly in doubly layer of plastic wrap, place on rimmed baking sheet, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours.

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Coat V-rack with vegetable oil spray and set inside large roasting pan. Unwrap roast, brush any excess salt mixture from surface an season with pepper. Place roast on prepared V-rack and pour 1 quart water into roasting pan.

Cook roast, basting twice during cooking, until meat is extremely tender and registered 190 degrees on instant read thermometer, 5 to 6 hours. Transfer roast to carving board, tent loosely with foil and let rest for 1 hour. Pour liquid from roasting an into fat separator. Let settle for 5 minutes, then pour off and reserve two tablespoons of defatted jus.

For the peach sauce: Bring reserved 2 tablespoons defatted jus, peaches, wine, granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons vinegar and thyme to simmer in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until reduced to 3/4 cup, 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon vinegar and mustard. Off head, remove thyme and cover sauce to keep warm.

Using sharp paring knife, cut around inverted T-shaped bone and, using clean kitchen towel, pull free from roast. Using serrated knife, slice roast. Serve, passing sauce separately.

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