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First Foray into Fine Cooking

19.January 2009

In keeping with my maybe resolution, I’m trying one recipe (at least) from this issue of Fine Cooking. This month I’m trying out Roast Pork Replay. The idea is that you “Cook once, eat twice.” This does seem to be a misnomer, as the leftover recipes still require a bit of thought and effort, but still the principle is a good one.

This recipe appeals because 1. I love a roast, 2. I love pork, 3. Pork shoulders are CHEAP and stretch quite far, 4. I’m looking forward to the Pork Ragu and Polenta leftovers.

It is daunting, though, on two fronts: 1. I am very impatient with cooking (as with knitting). 2. This is by far the largest hunk of meat I’ve ever tackled.

So, last night I wielded my butcher knife (“ChrisSY! Bring me the big knife!” – 5 Points if you can identify the film) and removed the skin from an unsettlingly large hunk of meat (I had the butcher de-bone the sucker). While doing so, I wondered whether my 5 quart saucepan would be big enough – roasting pan (wedding present) hasn’t arrived yet, but alas, the meat won’t wait. (It turned out that the pan is *just* big enough for the meat and hopefully the veg that gets added to it later on.) After the skinning, and testing of pan size, I massaged the meat with a hefty dose of salt and pepper and put it to bed in the fridge for the night.

This morning (10:30) I pulled it out and according to the recipe, let it sit around for an hour and a half before pre-heating (only 300? Slooooooow roasting…) and popping it in the oven.

Here’s a before shot. (Apologies to vegetarians and the squeamish.)

1:57 PM UPDATE: After an hour and a half or so in the oven, the pork is largely unchanged, save the fat beginning to curl up and melt off. Hopefully this process keeps the pork moist? I’m very suspicious of this roasting-without-liquid process, but I trust the Magazine.

3:12 PM UPDATE: There’s now a big pool of fat around the bottom of the meat… still a LOT of it on top. I hope that will all melt off in the next, what, hour? It’s smelling splendid.

3:46 PM UPDATE: I’ve just checked the meat again. (See above comment about impatience.) It is progressing. More fat coming off. I did the first fork check and it’s tender in some spots, VERY dry and tough in some spots, troublesomely. Also, fat poured out of some spots when I forked them. Lots of fat. Maybe this meal isn’t the healthiest?

6:14 PM UPDATE: Well, it’s done and looking delicious. Right now it’s loosely tented in aluminum foil and “resting” while I cook potatoes for mashing and wait to be able to skim fat off the juices. Can’t wait to dig in. Photos to come.

8:24 PM UPDATE: WOW. That was a good meal. Very simple, rustic one might say. But thoroughly satisfying. Lots of good pork fat-ty goodness and the juices became delicious – just water and white wine and lots of garlic and onions and a very few carrots and MAGIC. Pictures below.
Figure 1. The whole platter of goodness.
Figure 2. One full plate. Mashed potatoes, peas, and pork.

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