Fall, and favorite foods fun. And alliteration.
October 10, 2016
I love it when fall finally starts creeping around. When you break out your fuzzy slippers (those of us permanently afflicted with chilly feet). When the morning nip in the air perks you up when you take the dog outside. When the leaves start to drift downward, when you smell wood smoke, when you want to go spend a day hiking in the woods.
When you want to braise something.
I’m trying to empty my freezer, as my yearly allotment of cow will be arriving later this month. One of the things in it was an eight-pound pork roast I’d picked up when Kroger had a good sale on shoulder roasts a while back. I decided it was time.
I hauled it out of the freezer Saturday night, deposited it in the sink, and went to bed. Got up Sunday morning to find it thawed, and set about determining how to cook it. I pondered it as a cut off a sizeable portion of skin and fat cap, which I set aside for another experiment, to be detailed later.
The beast fit just about perfectly into my cast iron Dutch oven. I would have cooked it in apple cider, but I didn’t have any. What I DID have was a six-pack of Yuengling lager I’d bootlegged back across the river from Memphis last week. And I had some dry rub left over from making pastrami a while back. Those two, I thought, ought to do the trick.
I coated the roast down liberally on all sides with the pastrami rub. I made my own: it’s
- 4 tablespoons fresh coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
Into the Dutch oven it went. I peeled and halved two small onions and stuck them down to the sides, and then poured a bottle of Yuengling gently down the side of the pot, so’s not to wash the spice off. Into the oven at 300 it went, and off to get a shower and get ready for church I went.
Well, but first I did a few other things to get ready for dinner. I had soaked some Rancho Gordo pintos the day before, intending to cook them to go with the chicken enchiladas I did not cook either, for dinner the previous evening. I chunked those in the Instant Pot, went looking for my bacon, absolutely could NOT find it, so seasoned them with a bit of vegetable stock base. I had thawed a pint of corn, also for the dinner I didn’t cook the night before, and threw together a Jiffy cornbread mix cassesrole so I could slide it in the oven when I got home; and made up a batch of yeast rolls.
Then I showered, got me and the Amazing Grandchild ready for church, and headed out. Got home, and the house smelled SO good. Grilled AGC a cheese sandwich, got him settled, and set about finishing up Sunday dinner. I peeled sweet potatoes, cut them in wedges, tossed them in olive oil and salted with seasoned salt, and stuck those in the CSO. An hour on steam bake at 350, followed by a 15 minute crisping at 450 on convection bake just before we were ready to eat turned them out just perfectly. Made up the rolls and put them on a sheet pan to rise. Stuck the corn casserole in the regular oven, from which I pulled the pork out to let it sit for a bit.
It was a thing of beauty. It had braised a bit longer than 5 hours at 300 degrees, covered the entire time. The beer had been joined by a bunch of jus from the pork. The spices on the portion not covered by liquid had formed a beautiful crust. I tugged at it with a pair of tongs, and it pulled like a dream.
It turned out there were only three of us, so there’s a good bit of dinner left over. The pintos will see a reprise as refried beans with the enchiladas I’ll make tonight. I pulled the rest of the pork last night, discarding the fat and a big bone, and have about 3 1/2 pounds of pulled pork we’ll see in various guises over the next few days. Chunked the remaining corn casserole and sweet potatoes, as they don’t warm up well. Today’s lunch, I think, will be a pulled pork sandwich on one of those leftover rolls, with caramelized onions and melted Gruyere. Ya think?
I do, you know, have a gracious plenty of both rolls and pork left over. If you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em wanted to stop by, I’d feed you a sandwich.