Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Roast Pork and The First Snow

Happy New Year! I hope that you all had a great one.

Though I have lived in The South for more than half of my life, I can't quite get accustomed to eating black-eyed peas to celebrate the New Year. I would much prefer to follow the traditions of my German family and eat pork and sauerkraut, which either my grandmother or mom usually made in the beginning of January. Eating sauerkraut is said to bring blessings and wealth and is eaten along with pork, the pig being said to be a symbol of good luck and well-being. Though I imagine that doctors might argue these fine points, my dad is alive and well at almost 93, so I will maintain this hearty, if not healthy, tradition!

After years of eating lean and healthy pork tenderloin, I yearned for my grandma's slow-roasted pork that was loaded with flavor, melted in your mouth and had that delicious crust on it. I remember her starting it early in the morning in the oven that she had in the basement so that it wouldn't heat up the whole house. There it sat slow roasting until we arrived on the scene mid-afternoon.

Though tenderloin is a lot healthier, I feel that it lacks the flavor that we experienced in the old days. And since this is a meal that I usually only make once each year, a little splurging can't hurt! The recipe that I use is from the the "Make-Ahead Recipes 2010" issue of Cooks Illustrated, which is my favorite cooking magazine.

On New Year's Eve we went to a party given by our neighbors who live across the street, and on Sunday we had the two of them over for a roast pork and sauerkraut dinner. Though the recipe is intended to be a make-ahead version, I can't bear to wait to eat it, so I make it as a roast to be eaten when ready.

Note: I use what we call a fresh (not smoked) pork picnic,
WITH the bone,
rather than a boneless Boston Butt, 
which I have tried but didn't like as well.
I don't bother to tie the meat.

After trimming most of the fat
(the rest is cooked out during the slow-roasting,
and makes wonderful drippings for gravy),
fresh rosemary (still growing in my herb garden),
freshly cracked black pepper, table salt,
fresh sage leaves (NOT still growing in my herb garden!),
 fennel seeds, and garlic,
are mixed together...

...and then rubbed all over the meat,
which is then put in the oven for three hours
at 300 degrees.
During this time you do nothing
except inhale the wonderful aroma
of it cooking,
and quite literally,
this starts in less than 15 minutes!...

After the three hours,
you take out the meat,
add the wedged-up red onions
to the drippings that have already accumulated...

...and roast for another 3 to 3-1/2 hours,
during which time I keep an eye on it and add
a cup or so of water
(or white wine!)
and then it will look like this...

At this point I don't follow the recipe any further.
I make my own gravy (not the apple cider and
apple jelly version).
I also don't set any meat aside for Cubans.
Here is the recipe, which I hope you can enlarge
and print...

If you wish to make the roast and Cubans as specified,
here is the rest of the recipe...

And here is the recipe that I use when I make
most of my gravies.
I could never remember the formula of butter
and flour to drippings,
and this seems to work for me.
From Pinterest, where else!
I do use just a little less flour than specified.
For the pork I use chicken stock or broth,
but this also works well for beef recipes
using beef stock or broth.
Ignore my chicken scratch on the bottom!

By the way, for side dishes I made
a Martha Stewart recipe that I have been
using for years with saurkraut,
white cabbage, and browned mushrooms
in it,
along with mashed potatoes 
and a spinach salad with pears and
Gorgonzola cheese.
Oh, and NY Cheesecake,
another standby from the same issue of
Cooks Illustrated as the pork.
If you're going to cook,
you might as well cook!!


And a day after eating this nice winter meal,
low and behold,
we got snow! 
It didn't stick, though!

Have you cooked anything delicious lately?

Have a great evening!


  1. Nom Nom Nom! I just ate and now I am hungry again! This looks like an amazing way to cook it! I remember my Mom serving "oven roasted" potatoes with her pork roast. My former MIL also made "home made applesauce" and that was not complete unless there were cinnamon red hots in it. LOL! Thank you for your kind comments on my blog! Happy 2016!

    1. Hi Nancy. I love oven roasted potatoes and homemade applesauce too. Especially the latter, which you can control the sugar in. (Hubby is diabetic Type 1) Happy 2016 to you too! XO

  2. Oh Sue, so many delicious dishes , here in Denmark, we always have the roasted pork, with the skin still on top, it is sliced in thin pieces,(just the skin ) before we put it into the oven, They becomes totally crisp, and is eaten with joy by young and old ,lol.
    Your kind looks wonderful too.
    Dorthe, xx

    1. Dorthe, that is what my dad did to the skin when he made what we called fresh ham. It was ever so delicious. A heart attack on a plate, but nevertheless, irresistible! Hugs!

  3. Wow Sue! Thanks for sharing! Looks delicious~
    In out home, roast pork is always served with either Sauerkraut or hot German potato salad.
    Have a blessed 2016~ Hugs 2U Karen O

    1. We always ate hot potato salad as well. So delicious! I have yet to find a recipe for it, but one of these days I will make it. It is even delicious with good beefy hot dogs. Yum! Same to you for the coming year! XO


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