Tuesday, March 4, 2014

5 Spice Pork Roast

With the rainy weather, I find myself braising/slow cooking meat a lot more and this pork roast is so flavorful and ridiculously easy I find myself making it a few times a month now.  You can use a pork shoulder, butt, or picnic roast for this recipe--they all work, so just get what's priced best and get it from a local producer if you can (This one is a shoulder).  There's a fantastic "gravy" that results from this and we use it to drown all the roast veggies that we make to accompany this dish--pictured are some Japanese sweet potato coins.

5 Spice Pork Roast

1 2-3lb. pork roast (I made 2 at a time once for a larger group--same cooking time, twice the meat!)
1.5 cups chicken stock
2 Tbsp. pork lard--get this from a butcher if you can, try to avoid the tubs in the dairy case.
Chinese Five Spice blend (get it pre-made or make your own)

Preheat your oven to 300.  Season all sides of the roast with salt, pepper and five spice in equal amounts, no need to create a thick layer, but definitely don't be shy.  In a Dutch oven or cast iron skillet, heat the lard on med high heat until hot but not smoking.  Brown the roast on all sides--be sure to keep the heat up for this and keep the meat moving in the pan so it doesn't burn but gets nice and crispy on the outside.  When the roast is looking done, turn off the heat and deglaze the pan with the chicken stock--you can keep the roast in the pan, just be sure to loosen up all the bits in the pan.  You want the liquid to reach maybe an inch up the side of the meat.  If you have used a dutch oven just go ahead and put the lid on and put in the oven and cook 1.5 hours for a 2 lb. roast and add 30 min. for each additional pound.  When you pull the roast from the oven, it can sit for a little bit. Remove the roast from the pan, and you are left with the gravy/sauce.  Skim the fat off with a spoon by tilting the pan and just taking off the top layer and reserve (maybe you can cook tomorrow's eggs, or sauté your veg in the fat!).  Slice the roast into servings and make sure to cover it all with the sauce. 

If you need to use a slow cooker, after browning, put the pork in the slow cooker, deglaze the pan then pour the liquid into the slow cooker.  Set on high for 3 hours or low for 6 hours.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I Heart Mammoth Minis

Happy Valentine's Day!  Well, okay then. December and January happened.  I have to say, I got a little buried this Winter basically cooking recipes off my site and really keeping everything simple.  A lot of roasting with just salt and pepper and browning in lard, then roasting off at 300 for about 1.5 hours for a 2lb. roast.  Same with vegetables--roasted all of them.  Salads had a lot of pomegranate seeds and pears in them for the first half of winter, then we moved into pommelos and apples for January.  Navel oranges are really hitting their stride right now too.

As for the little treat pictured above.  My good friend Anthony and his partner is crime, Mike, have come up with an outstanding product.  And I just adulterated it by dipping it in chocolate.  Think Mammoth Roca (I used the almond flavor).  Use a good quality chocolate--mine was 70% with no dairy or soy lecithin.   

Read all about Mammoth Bars here: www.mammothbars.com.  Like them on Facebook, rave to your friends.  These guys have put a lot of care and thought into what they are making.  My favorite thing about them is they use organic sprouted nuts.  And you should all know how I feel about sprouted nuts.

Chocolate Dipped Mammoth Bites:

6- 12 oz. melting chocolate--you need something with pure cocoa butter in it.
Mammoth bars or minis
cookie cutters (optional)

Temper the chocolate
cut your bars into desired shape (you can use coconut oil to help with the release of the cut out--mine got a little stuck in the cookie cutter)
dip the bars in the chocolate covering completely
rest on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and refrigerate until hardened (about 20 min.)
transfer to a sealed container in a cool dry spot