Pot Roast of Pork

Here’s what Fatted Calf had to say in their first week of March newsletter:

While I will gladly pile up stacks of dirty pans and bowls in pursuit of culinary glory and happily turn up the radio, roll up my sleeves and attack a sink of dirty dishes, if it’s the price for a good meal I have to admit there is something awfully appealing about a one pot wonder, the kind of cooking that takes its time but not yours.
The Versatile Pork Country Rib Roast slow cooked atop a bed of root vegetables makes for a tender, juicy pot roast.

I bought the Pork Country Rib Roast. This is not my first time, but I haven’t yet fixed on the perfect way to roast it.

When Niman Ranch was in the Market, they sold a Pork Country Rib with about 2 ribs and they sold it on the cheap, about $6 the pound. Then they changed their operation around and moved out of the market and I haven’t seen a similar “country rib.” I believe they described it to me as the first two ribs at one end or the other. I bring this up because Carol had a perfect way of roasting that country rib, so when I got one of those, I was pleased to let her do it.

p_pork_detail

But that country rib is not this country rib and I have a checkered history with this country rib:

Roasted Country Rib 12.09
I have a country rib roast from Fatted Calf, 3 ribs, 2.3 pounds, marinated with Mandarin oranges and Tournantes olives. C sez stick in the countertop convection oven on fan bake at 400° for 30 to 45 minutes.
Took 50 minutes to reach 150°. Yum.
I put it in the square roasting pan on no stick foil with a splash of water in the bottom. C sez she uses the pan that came with the oven and the wire rack to hold it off the bottom.

11.10
FC Country Rib roast with apples and walnut. 2.09 pounds.
Not so good.
First, on the wire rack the roast barely fit in the oven.
Second, it took way long to cook, and was more stringy than tasty, which I attribute to the HOT oven and the tight fit. I think I would go longer and slower next time (see Pernil Pork Roast by Mark Bittman).

My solution was to do nothing until I had an idea.

After rumination, the idea came on a trip to Sonoma to pick up some Cline wine and have Sunday brunch on a drizzly but not nasty day… “cook it like a pot roast, using a beef recipe as a guide.” I have a bunch of root vegetables from Mariquita that are taking up space in the refrigerator. Perfect.

It turns out that in 2006 I wrote a treatise on pot roast while cooking Basic Pot Roast, clipped from the NYTimes March 1, 2006, Adapted from Eric Stirling.

Here’s what I had to say at the time:
“This is basic; meat, water, potatoes, carrots, onions, salt and pepper. One doesn’t even brown the meat. That seemed odd, but I decided to go with the recipe. I haven’t done a pot roast in ages, so I didn’t have memory to go by. I did take the trouble to buy a fine grass fed Chuck Eye Roast from Marin Sun Farm. Then to prep the vegetables, combine them [even the onions] in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook, covered, until they begin to soften. Drain well, and add to pot in which meat is cooking. Continue to cook in oven until meat is done and vegetables are tender.
Once the roast was in the oven, I had plenty of time to do some pot roast research, but no means to escape this most basic preparation. I checked out my most respected cookbooks that do pot roast, James Beard, Julia and Jacques, Marcella Hazan, and for a baseline, Cook’s Illustrated.” [Continued at the end of this Pork piece.]

But I digress. Here, we’re dealing with pork.

I decided to use the Cooks Illustrated recipe as a go-by, and adapt it to my 2 pound Pork Country Rib Roast.

The first thing is to get it out of the fridge and see what pot it fits. This will determine what oven to use. You see, we have a shiny new Breville Countertop Convection Oven. Our Krups was wearing out — the TOAST button often didn’t work on the first (or second or third) try, and the button to adjust time was difficult. Further, to get proper toast, one had to turn the bread over during toasting. It’s three years old and has been used many times a day, every day, from toast to baking to warming plates. Internet research said Cuisenart and Breville are the best, and both were in stock at Best Buy. I went, looked, touched and bought the Breville BOV800XL.

w_new_breville_oven

Well, my roast fits in the red Le Creuset pot which fits in the Breville. A chance to give that sucker a good test drive.

pork in the pot

pork in the pot

pork browned

pork browned

cook the mirepoix

cook the mirepoix

add the pork and broth

add the pork and broth

pop it into the oven

pop it into the oven

I made a mirepoix of onion, carrot celery, browned the pork, browned the vegetables, rested the roast on top and added broth about half way up. Pop it into a 300° oven and there’s nothing to do but turn it every half hour.

After 1 1/2 hours, I poked it with my favorite paring knife… not even close to done. At 3 hours, I tested again… good and tender. I chunked a couple of carrots, and a parsnip to tuck into the pot. I had French red potatoes ready, but they wouldn’t fit, so while the pot was back in the oven for yet another 30 minutes, I boiled the potatoes.

that pork is falling apart done

that pork is falling apart done

Meat out of the pot and back into the oven — now set on “warm” — vegetables into the lovely sauce, add some red wine and finish cooking. Reduce the sauce. Make a salad.

dinner on the table

dinner on the table

Meat and vegetables to a platter and to the table. Oh my, the pork is falling apart tender and just full of flavor. I have me a low and slow go-to recipe for the next country rib. Served with a 1997 Cline Ancient Vines Carignane, Contra Costa County.

p8_served

All I have to do now is perfect a hot and quick method. Maybe I’ll have Carol do that.

Pot Roast of Pork with Root Vegetables
adapted from Pot Roast of beef in CI 3/2002 Serves 4 or more

1 Fatted Calf country rib (2 pounds), bone in
Table salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion , chopped medium
1 small carrot , chopped medium
1 small rib celery , chopped medium
1 medium cloves garlic , minced
1 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth
1 sprig fresh thyme
3/4 cups water
1 ounce dry red wine
3/4 pounds carrots (about 4 medium carrots), sliced 1/2 inch thick
3/4 pounds small red potatoes , halved if larger than 1 1/2 inches in diameter
1/2 pound large parsnips (about 2), sliced 1/2 inch thick

1. Adjust oven rack of countertop convection oven to ROAST position and heat to 300 degrees. Thoroughly pat roast dry with paper towels; sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in the 1 1/2 quart red, Le Creuset pot over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Brown roast thoroughly on all sides, reducing heat if fat begins to smoke, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer roast to a plate; set aside.
Reduce heat to medium; add onion, carrot, and celery to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and sugar; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chicken and beef broths and thyme, scraping bottom of pan with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Return roast and any accumulated juices to pot; add enough water to come halfway up sides of roast. Bring liquid to simmer over medium heat, then place a piece of foil over pot and cover tightly with lid; transfer pot to oven.
Cook, turning roast every 30 minutes, until roast is almost tender (sharp knife should meet little resistance), 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Add carrots, red potatoes, and parsnips to pot, submerging them in liquid. Continue to cook until vegetables are almost tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
Transfer roast to carving board; tent with foil to keep warm. Boil over high heat until vegetables are fully tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to warmed serving bowl or platter.
Add wine and salt and pepper to taste to the pot; raise heat and boil to reduce it to saucy.
Cut meat into 1/2-inch-thick slices or pull apart into large pieces; transfer to bowl or platter with vegetables and pour about 1/2 cup sauce over meat and vegetables. Serve, passing remaining sauce separately.

POT ROAST NOTES, March 1, 2006

This is basic; meat, water, potatoes, carrots, onions, salt and pepper. One doesn’t even brown the meat. That seemed odd, but I decided to go with the recipe. I haven’t done a pot roast in ages, so I didn’t have memory to go by. I did take the trouble to buy a fine grass fed Chuck Eye Roast from Marin Sun Farm. Then to prep the vegetables, combine them [even the onions] in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook, covered, until they begin to soften. Drain well, and add to pot in which meat is cooking. Continue to cook in oven until meat is done and vegetables are tender.
Once the roast was in the oven, I had plenty of time to do some pot roast research, but no means to escape this most basic preparation. I checked out my most respected cookbooks that do pot roast, James Beard, Julia and Jacques, Marcella Hazan, and for a baseline, Cook’s Illustrated.

There were some constants:
All browned the meat before roasting.
All used a mirepoix of some sort.
All used wine as a braising liquid.

James Beards Theory and Practice of Good Cooking, has two braised beef recipes.
Boeuf a la Mode [French-Style Pot Roast]. Marinate the brisket for 6 to 12 hours with a pig’s foot, onion studded with cloves, sliced onion, carrot and garlic, cognac and red wine. Brown the beef, then braise the beef and pig’s feet in strained marinade. Add leeks, pearl onions, carrots, celery and tomato paste near the end of the braising. Serve with strained and reduced sauce and separately cooked potatoes.
Estouffat de Noel [Braised Beef with Wine and Brandy] [pp154]
Put pork rind or pig’s foot on the bottom of a pot. Make a bed of vegetables (shallot, onion, carrot), garlic and thyme. Add the beef. Add Armagnac and red wine and braise long and slowly. Remove the pot from the oven, let cool completely and skim the fat. Reheat and serve with boiled potatoes or macaroni to soak up the lovely sauces.

Julia Child and Jacques Pepin, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home [pp328]
Jacques’s Pot Roast
Sear the roast on all sides. In the pot, arrange bay leaves, thyme sprigs, chopped onion and tomato around the meat. Add white wine and water. Braise for about 3 hours, add turnip wedges, small white onions, baby carrots and braise for another hour. Out of the oven, add peas. Slice the meat onto a warm platter. Spoon the vegetables all around the meat and moisten all with the sauce.

Marcella Hazan, The Classic Italian Cook Book
Stracotto al Barolo [Beef Braised in Red Wine Sauce]
Brown the Chuck Roast. Saute chopped onion, carrot and celery and add to the pot along with red wine and beef broth, 2 tablespoons chopped tomatoes, thyme and marjoram. Braise. Slice the meat onto a warm platter and pour the sauce over the meat.
This being Italian, one would have had a pasta first course, and a vegetable, such breaded fried asparagus would be served with the meat. [pp242]

Cook’s Illustrated has all your standard home cook recipes that have been well tested and tasted, so I looked to them for a base line and adaptable recipe.

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One thought on “Pot Roast of Pork

  1. I hope we can find a pork roast of the quality appropriate to such a terrific dish. Sounds wonderful. Thanks.
    PS: Nice to see a new toaster oven. When they go, they seem to go incrementally.

    Like

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