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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Sugar-Free Sparkling Meyer Lemonade

Sugar-Free Sparkling Meyer Lemonade

New Year, new you! Quite a few of my friends are sober/cleansing/detoxing in January. I am not – my friends all know I can barely go an evening without Pinot – but I’m hosting a dinner party for some of those healthy January friends and needed to find them a tasty drink. Serendipitously, our dear friend Todd brought us beautiful Meyer lemons from his family’s home in Napa. So when life gives you lemons in sober January, you make sugar-free sparkling lemonade!

This lemonade is made with Truvia, which is a stevia sweeter. Stevia is a calorie free, plant-based sugar substitute made from the stevia rebaudiana plant in South America. It is significantly sweeter than sugar, so make sure to use less of it whenever you substitute it for sugar. I also like my lemonade to taste like lemons, so this recipe is high in lemon flavor, high in bubbly fun, and high on my list to replace my pinot tonight.

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Sparkling lemonade: serve in a Crow Canyon Home pitcher and pour into a Pottery Barn old-fashioned glass!

Sugar-Free Sparkling Meyer Lemonade

Ingredients
1c boiling water
1c Truvia
2c Meyer lemon juice (9-12 lemons)
6c water
24oz (2 cans) club soda
ice
mint (for garnish)
sliced lemons (for garnish)

Directions
Stir boiling water and Truvia together until dissolved, about 5 minutes. Add in Meyer lemon juice, water and soda. Cool in refrigerator about 20 minutes. Add ice, mint and sliced lemons to finish. Note: to make this recipe even more bubbly, substitute out more of the water for club soda.

Tasty lemonade with a sugar substitute will help you keep your sugar free detox New Years resolutions!