February 6 – February 12, 2022
Sunday: Pork Shoulder Pork Roast with Winter Vegetables (G. Zakarian – file)
Monday Leftovers with Salad and Irish Soda Bread
Tuesday: Turkish Chickpea Salad (Milk Street, Mar-Apr, 2022)
Wednesday: Fettuccine with Asparagus and Prosciutto
Thursday: Rotisserie Chicken with Radish, Pear, Gorgonzola and Nori Salad (
Friday: Salmon Tacos with Pineapple-Chile Salsa
Why, I’ve wondered, from time to time, is Pork Shoulder called Boston Butt? It can’t be an advertising ploy to sell more of the stuff. I mean, do people get excited by the prospect of cooking and eating Butt? On the other hand, Rump Roast is not very enticing, either. It’s clear that I’m missing something having to do with the history of eating and the classification of meat. But (no pun intended), I can live with that, so long as I get to eat the stuff.
Below we’ll share a recipe which treats pork shoulder pretty much like pot roast, although no pot roast ever tasted as succulent and satisfying as this pork. The recipe was a revelation that has me wondering about cooking all sorts of things low and slow. Please try this – it will make you happy.
Before we get to the recipe, however, I want to thank everyone who read our resurrected blog and particularly those who sent or posted the incredibly encouraging and kind comments. It made us realize that this blog is something bigger than we thought – not that much bigger, but a bit. We have rededicated ourselves to the blog and promise to carry it on through the various orthopedic operations, natural disasters and general debilitation we expect to encounter in the coming years.
More specifically – thanks to Patsy and Kathy and Tim and Hilda and, yes, Marj, the pressure hose* are not a pretty sight. And Papa Slo – your note made my day.
*I have argued with my orthopod that pressure hose cause more divorces than illicit affairs or mental cruelty and that he should offer to pay for a home health aide trained specifically to squeeze legs into these torture devices. In typical orthopod mode, he ignored me and told me to get my leg bending more or he would have to put me under again and do the bending for me. Am I the only one who senses a tinge of sadism in orthopedic surgeons?
But now to the recipe which uses pork shoulder (Boston Butt) – the same cut of pork that is the basis for the wonderful treat known as pulled pork. This low and slow cooking method turns pork shoulder into something as unctuous and satisfying as well-cooked brisket. It is the perfect antidote to cold, blustery winter days.
P.S. scroll to the end of the recipe to see a fetching picture of Arlo.
[Note: This recipe requires salting the pork one day before cooking]
PORK SHOULDER POT ROAST WITH WINTER VEGETABLES
(adapted from Geoffrey Zakarian)
Timing: Prep pork day before cooking – cooking takes 4 ½ hours Calm down, there is very little cooking in the last 4 ½ hours and the prep the day before takes just a few minutes.
3 – 4 lbs. Boneless Pork Shoulder (Boston Butt) – Giant Eagle sells only bone-in shoulder. It took me maybe 15 minutes to remove the bone and then tie the shoulder together with cooking twine. It is much easier to have the butcher do this for you.
4 oz. diced pancetta (many markets sell this prepackaged – if you’re dicing your own, you’ll want to pop it in the freezer for 30 minutes to make the dicing easier)
2 sprigs and 6 leaves of fresh sage and 1 sprig of rosemary
6 cloves of garlic
2 carrots, cut into large pieces on the diagonal
1 rutabaga, cut into large pieces (we couldn’t get rutabaga and used parsnip)
1 turnip cut into large pieces
1 yellow onion, quartered
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoons misto paste or use Better than Bullion Pork Base
2 x 12 oz. cans of stout or dark ale or beer
2 cups of chicken stock
1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar
Fresh mint and cilantro for garnish (we used only the cilantro)
For extra garnish: ¾ cup of Parsley (leaves only), ¾ cup of sliced red onion, 3 tablespoons of capers, neutral oil and ¼ cup flour seasoned with salt and cayenne.
One day before cooking, trim and season pork shoulder generously with kosher salt. Refrigerate, uncovered, overnight. Bring to room temp one or two hours before cooking.
Heat a large Dutch Oven over medium and cook the pancetta and 6 sage leaves to render the pancetta. Remove to a plate.
Add the pork shoulder fat side down to the pot and brown for about 5 minutes on each side (that would be four sides, Sparky) until nicely browned. [Note: If the pancetta does not render enough fat, add a little neutral oil (canola, grape seed, etc.)] Remove pork to a plate.
Now add the garlic, carrots, rutabaga, turnip and onion and brown for about 4 minutes. Add the miso and tomato paste, the sprigs of sage and rosemary and cook 1 minute.
Now add the beer and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Nestle the pork back into the pan (we had to remove some of the vegetables to do so – we added them back in later), add the pancetta and sage, cover and cook at a steady simmer for 3 ½ hours.
Make sure the pork is tender, correct seasonings, then let sit for 30 minutes, covered.
Make the garnishes: (you can skip the garnishes, but they are good)
While the pork rests, heat two inches of neutral oil (canola, grape seed), in a pot with deep sides.
When very hot (350F), put in a cup of parsley leaves and fry for 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon or spider.
Add 3 tablespoons of capers and fry for 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon or spider.
Dredge onions in flour, cayenne and salt, fry for 3 minutes or so and remove with a slotted spoon or spider.
Cut the pork into thick slices (so that it hangs together) and put on a platter with the braised vegetables. Sprinkle some of the garnishes on top of the pork and serve with more garnishes on the side.