The road less traveled

October 16, 2010

I love, occasionally, to start out dinner having no idea where I’m going to end up.

Here's where I ended up. If not cohesive, at the very least, damn good.

I had a nice 3 1/2 pound Boston butt I’d picked up at Kroger. I had a new box of ancho chile powder I’d gotten at Culinary District. I had turnips and potatos and butternut squash I’d bought at the Farmers Market, which is just about to wind down. I had leftover white beans and sausage, and I had some old faithful refrigerator cole slaw.

So I started out with a rub for the pork butt. I commenced that with a base of ancho powder, added ginger and garlic powder, dry mustard, white pepper, turmeric, Chinese five-spice. I patted the butt down nicely with it, seared it off in a skillet, then moved it to a baking dish. Sauteed a diced onion, added some rice wine vinegar, some mirin, some teriyaki sauce. Put that in the baking dish too. Covered that baby and roasted him for about four hours while Arkansas and Auburn tried to figure out where the hell they’d left their defenses while they were out partying last night.

I mean, 100-plus total points? Seriously? Is this football, or a track meet?

And, OK, I’m a Ryan Mallett fan. Kid’s got a future. But he’s got to toughen up. We did, however, discover we’ve got us a backup. Can I hear an amen for Tyler Wilson?

Auburn. Sigh.Well, better’n Bama.

But I digress.

This may have been the best roast pork I’ve cooked in a good while. Toothsome, yet meltingly tender; basted internally with the melted fat, crisped on the outside with the spices. Earthy and succulent. I was pretty impressed with myself, truth be told. While the roast was braising away at 300 degrees, I cubed up some tiny turnips I’d picked up at the market, some redskin potatos, some butternut squash. Tossed that in olive oil with some sweete paprika and some seasoned salt. Stuck it in beside the roast with about an hour to go.

Cooked rice in the rice cooker. Hauled the slaw and the beans out of the fridge, heated the beans, and called it dinner.

I also boiled some chicken breasts that I didn’t have room for in the freezer (they were on sale for 99 cents a pound, y’all; I had to buy two packages at that price), and I’ve boned them, strained the stock, and got both in the fridge. I think they’re going with the leftover rice in a cheesy sauce with green chiles and cumin for a casserole tomorrow. I may either cook the casserole, or stick it in the fridge for the children to heat while I’m gone next week.

I splurged for lunch. I stopped by, as previously mentioned, Culinary District, and perused the cheese counter. Picked up some Gruyere and something whose name escapes me but it’s Spanish and slightly younger than most Manchegos I’ve tried. Had some butterkase. That, with honey and pickles and a glass of wine, made a nice lunch. I contemplated a Forschner chef’s knife, and decided against it. I may yet go back.

Lucy is entertaining herself with the bone out of the Boston butt. She is a happy mutt right now. And Ole Miss and Bama are about to play. I believe I’ll finish my wine and enjoy that. You and y’mama ‘n ’em enjoy your Saturday night.

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