Simon’s Roasted Pork Shoulder

Simon’s Roasted Pork Shoulder with Cabernet Sauce

My fiancé has excellent taste. And I’m not talking about style or taste in women (me!). I mean actual, physical taste. In another life, I’m sure he was a Grand Master Sommelier at some foofy restaurant. He can taste exactly what food pairs with a particular wine and what herb a recipe might be missing, so he makes a great partner in the kitchen. When we cook together, I usually write down general direction, Simon ignores everything but the important things, adds his own spices and techniques, and it always comes out flawless. This past Friday we made a roast for two of our lovely friends who live down the street. Since I had to work all day, I wrote down directions, left for work, and eight hours later I came back to Simon’s creation. And it was amazing. So I’m sharing his version of pork shoulder – feel free to change things and add your own personal touches too!

Simon’s Roasted Pork Shoulder

The key to this recipe is to order pork shoulder or pork butt (surprise! they’re the same thing!) from your local meat shop exactly this way:

  1. with the skin – this recipe yields a delicious crispy skin that adds amazing texture
  2. scored – the spices will sink down into the fat under the skin and keep everything seasoned and super juicy
  3. tied up – so the whole thing stays in one nice piece
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Skin, fat, meat – YUM

The basics of this recipe are season, sear meat, sauté veggies, reduce wine, add broth, and roast for a really long time. It takes a lot of time, but not active time, so it’s a great recipe to make while you’re working from home or just doing house chores all day.

Ingredients
4 lbs pork shoulder, skin on and tied (yields enough meat for about 6 people)
2 tbs + 2tbs olive oil
1/2 onion, large diced
3 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 stalks celery, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
2c good cabernet or zinfandel
1 tbs cumin
1 tbs paprika
1 tbs coriander
1 bay leaf
1 1/2c chicken stock
salt & pepper

Directions
Generously salt and pepper the pork butt and let rest on countertop for 45 minutes. This will allow salt and pepper to really sink into the meat.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

In a large dutch oven such as Le Creuset, heat up 2 tbs olive oil on medium high until shimmering. Sear the pork shoulder until brown and crispy all over, about 4 minutes on each side. Pay special attention to crisping the skin side. Remove pork and set aside. Add the remaining 2 tbs olive oil until shimmering. Add onions, carrots and celery and sauté until browned. Lower heat to medium and add garlic. Sauté until fragrant, but be careful not to burn the garlic. Remove garlic. Turn up heat to medium high and add red wine. Reduce (boil) red wine until 1/2 the liquid remains.

While the red wine is reducing, sprinkle pork shoulder all over with cumin, paprika, and coriander. Return pork to the pan, skin side up. Place garlic on top of the skin. Add the chicken stock and bay leaf.

Roast in the 250 degree oven for 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours with the top off. About every 45 minutes, baste all over with the pan juices. Once the temperature of the pork reaches 145 degrees, lower temperature to 150 degrees to keep warm.

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Roast almost done!

Approximately 15 minutes before serving, remove pork from the dutch oven, set aside and cover wit aluminum foil. Place dutch oven on stovetop on medium-high heat and reduce liquids by about 1/3 to make a delicious sauce. Serve meat with sauce paired perfectly with your favorite red wine. Enjoy!

Completed dish – don’t forget the sauce!

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I promised my neighbors that I’d post this creepy photo of Kevin drooling over Simon’s meat (heh, heh)

All done!

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Bacon Wrapped Turkey

Bacon + Turkey = Easy & Juicy!

Bacon + Turkey = Easy & Juicy!

That’s right, I said it: Bacon Wrapped Turkey. Bacon makes everything better – including Thanksgiving. In-laws driving you crazy? Can’t keep the kids calm while you’re slaving in the kitchen? 49ers getting beat by the Hawks? Turkey getting dry? All of this can be solved by one magical animal I call “bacon”. Wrapping a turkey in bacon for most of the cooking time keeps the turkey moist and delicious. And since the bacon is removed for the last hour of cooking, you can enjoy the bacon earlier to solve all those in-law, upset kiddo, 49ers loosing blues.

Bacon wrapped, juicy, easy, fool-proof turkey!

Bacon wrapped, juicy, easy, fool-proof turkey!

Bacon Wrapped Turkey

I don’t now why this isn’t a common turkey roasting concept. Wrapping a turkey in bacon allows fat and flavor to slowly drizzle into the turkey meat for most of of the roasting period. It’s a hassle-free way of keeping your turkey flavored and juicy.

Brining ingredients
2 cans Guinness (or any dark beer)
Brining seasoning (I bought pre-made Williams Sonoma)
2 tbs butter

Turkey ingredients
Turkey (see below for lbs and cooking time)
1 onion
1 lemon
Head of garlic
Stuffing (optional)
1 lb bacon

For turkey purchasing, I recommend buying a refrigerated, NOT frozen, turkey. Only because I’m too impatient lazy smart to buy a frozen one and defrost it for days. There are a lot of labels on a turkey – range free, no antibiotics, etc. The only one that you should ignore is gluten free – they are all gluten free. The other labels you can buy per your preferences (no antibiotics, vegetarian fed, etc).

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Lots of labels to read, but the one you can ignore is gluten free. If your turkey has gluten, it has problems. Turkey is, by nature, gluten free

To prep the turkey, remove any plastic-y looking things holding the legs together. Remove the bag that’s hidden inside under the neck. This bag holds the giblets & neck. These items can be brined and roasted right along with the turkey then reserved later for stock or gravy.

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Removing bag of giblets & neck before roasting

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Giblets and neck can be used for stock or gravy later. I throw all of this in with brine & roast with turkey to be used at a later time

Brining takes overnight to one day to be effective. If you don’t have enough time to brine, season your turkey with salt, pepper, thyme, parsley, sage, and rub skin (including under the breast skin) with butter or olive oil. If brining, rub butter over skin, under breast skin and place in a large brining bag. Add brining seasoning and the beer. At this point you can add water to cover the turkey, but this makes turkey + water = super heavy. Filling it with water allows all seasoning to cover turkey so there is no need to flip. I don’t add the water and flip every 6 hours. Keep refrigerated overnight to 24 hours.

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Happy, brining turkey ready for the overnight flavor-inducing refrigeration

On cooking day, preheat oven to 325 degrees, drain turkey and place on a roasting rack. Stuff cavity of turkey with onion, garlic, lemons and, optionally, stuffing (I used Stove Top). Tie legs together with cooking twine. COVER IN BACON and celebrate a little inside. And now, for some bacon photos.

Bacon + Turkey = Easy & Juicy!

Bacon + Turkey = Easy & Juicy!

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Bacon Art

Roast turkey with bacon, basting with drippings from the bottom of the pan every 45 minutes. Roast with bacon until the last hour of roasting. You remove the bacon because it’s fulfilled its usefulness and to make sure you get a beautiful, crispy, brown skin.

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Halfway through roasting

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When bacon is removed, turkey will look like it’s been in a tanning bed too long with a one-peice swimsuit on

Bacon wrapped, juicy, easy, fool-proof turkey!

Bacon wrapped, juicy, easy, fool-proof turkey!

Cooking times are based on lbs of turkey and are as follows:

8-12 lbs     3 – 3 1/2 hours
13-14 lbs   3 1/2 – 4 hours
15-18 lbs   4 – 4 1/2 hours
19-20 lbs  4 1/2 – 4 3/4 hours
21-24 lbs   4 3/4 – 5 hours

Cook until a internal temperature of thigh is about 160 degrees. Remove from oven and rest, covered in aluminum foil for 30 minutes. The temperature will raise slightly higher as it rests. Now have your favorite guest carve the turkey and serve! Don’t forget to set the table pretty, eat some crispy bacon, and enjoy all those happy, smiling, turkey eating guests of yours. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Processed with Moldiv

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Cheers to bacon wrapped turkey!