I sort of threw Monday night's dinner together, no real recipe and I'm just making up the name. But dang it was good. Needed a vegetable though. Perfect for a rainy, dreary day.
Alsatian Pork Roast
with a Wine & Cider Pan Sauce
and Dijon Mashed Potatoes
The roast is the first part. I bought a 3-4 pound pork butt roast, bone-in. Pat the roast dry with paper towels and season liberally with your choice of mild seasoning. I used a blend from Penzeys, plus some salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add 3-4 TB of olive oil; sear both sides of the roast until well browned and with a developed crust.
While the roast is searing, peel 2-3 carrots and cut into large chunks. Peel one onion and chop into large pieces. Peel and smash 3 cloves of garlic and set aside one medium bunch of fresh thyme.
After the second side of the roast has been seared, pour in about one cup of a crisp white wine. Preferably a Riesling if you have it. With a wooden spoon, scrap up what bits you can from the bottom of the pan. As the wine reduces add one cup of unfiltered apple cider or juice, the darker, the better. None of the clear, yellow stuff, you want the brown, thick cider!
Add the carrots, onions, garlic and thyme. Cover and place in a 350 degree oven for one hour. At the one hour mark, turn the heat to 300 and check the roast, spoon some of the cooking liquid over the top. Cover and cook another hour. Check the roast again. Cook one final hour. This should be the point at which the bone slips out of the meat. If not, cook longer, checking at 30 minute intervals. When it's done, remove from the oven and let rest for an hour, in the pot.
After the hour of resting time, remove the roast and prep for serving or storage. Remove the bone and clean up any remaining fat and nasty bits. Break the roast into large pieces. Reserve the cooking liquid. Strain to remove the vegetables and other bits. Pour the juice over the roast, cover and store in the fridge...or continue for dinner!
If you are making mashed potatoes, here's the steps, in case you haven't done this before, it's a little different than cooking most vegetables.
1) peel the potatoes (if you want, if the peels are thin, you can leave them on, just scrub the spud).
2) cut the potatoes into about 1-inch pieces.
3) put the potatoes into a large pot and cover with cold water.
4) season the pot of water/potatoes with a hefty tablespoon of salt.
5) bring to a boil.
6) cook until a knife or fork easily slides into the potato, and out of the potato.
7) drain and return to the cooking pot.
8) add butter first, mash, add the cream or milk, mash more. season with salt and pepper, mash and mix more. Taste. Adjust butter, cream, salt and/or pepper.
9) for Dijon Mashed Potatoes, depending on your mustard preference, add 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of a grainy Dijon. Stir in. If you happen to have some fresh parsley, chop finely and stir in. Serve warm!
Now the pan sauce.
In a medium to large skillet, saute one large shallot with butter and/or reserved, rendered pork fat. **see note at the bottom of this post. When the shallots are soft, add about 2 tablespoons of flour. Stir until the flour is coated and starts to smell nutty. Add 1/2 - 1 cup of the same white wine you used earlier with the roast. Stir until combined. Add about 1 cup of reserved cooking liquid. Bring to a simmer. Add the large pieces of cooked roast. Simmer over low heat until ready to serve.
The pork and the sauce.
Potatoes ready to mash.
All served up. This was an incredibly rich and really delicious meal. My grandparents would be proud. The Dijon flavors played really well with the cider/wine flavors in the pork and sauce.
**Note on the cooking liquid and fat. After you strain the bits out of the cooking liquid, you will start to see a lot of fat rise to the top. You'll want to separate that fat, so you have the option to use it. If you have a fat separator, you're good. If not, chill the liquid in the freezer or fridge. The fat will solidify and can easily be removed. Alternatively, you can carefully spoon the fat off, bit by bit. When you go to make the pan sauce, we're making a roux, so you do need some fat and the flour. I used about 1 TB of pork fat and 1 TB of butter. This was a nice flavor combo, but not necessary. After you add the wine to the butter/flour combo, make sure to add the remaining cooking liquid. Lots of amazing flavors in there, wine, cider, seasonings, thyme...all very good.