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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Miso and Soy Marinated Lamb Chop “Lollipops”

Umami and soy marinated lamb chops with wasabi mashed potatoes. Plate by Crow Canyon Home

Miso and soy marinated lamb chop lollipops served over wasabi mashed potatoes. Plate by Crow Canyon Home

I love lamb chop lollipops so hard. They’re a super crowd-pleaser that look so gorgeous and complicated but, and please keep this a secret, they are so darned easy. Don’t tell your friends that really all you have to do is separate, season, and sear them. Really. Don’t tell them that. I’d hate for my friends to think that these are so easy I could make them in my sleep. Just to make sure they know how much I “slaved” over these all day, I put my hair in a bun, muss up my clothes, and spray a little mist for the “I sweated over these all day” look. Below we’re going to do a little lesson on how to butcher these suckers (it’s easy) and then properly cook them. The chops can be easily cooked with just a little salt & pepper, but we’re going to go for a Significantly Above Target rating by following the below steps. Warning, with each step you add to the fun. 

  1. Add miso & soy marinade
  2. Make a red wine reduction sauce that sounds fancy but it’s not
  3. Serve with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes
  4. TO FINALIZE THE UNSTOPPABLE FUN…. serve on my new Crow Canyon Home Splatterware!

Contain yourself. I promise when you’re done, you too will love lamb chop lollipops so hard. Get your spray bottle and your best “I slaved over these all day” look! On to the recipe…

Marinating lamb chop lollipops

Marinating lamb chop lollipops

Miso & Soy Marinated Lamb Chop “Lollipops”

Lamb chop “lollipops” are made from a rack of lamb where the chops have been separated, seasoned, and seared. Below we’re going to show you how to properly butcher them, season & sear them. The simplest version of these are made with just salt & pepper. I’ve added a marinade, a sauce, and a link to mashed potatoes that will turn simple lamb chops into simply fabulous lamb chops. 

Butchering Lamb Chops Instructions

Tools: Sharp chef knife, cutting board & a rack of lamb

Before the butchering begins...

Before the butchering begins…

Lamb Chops can be found at any butcher or grocery chain and are usually from Australia, New Zeland, or the United States. Lamb Chops are a case where I break my rules of buying the best organic, local, grass fed, free range and perfectly manicured animal. I buy my lamb chops at (brace yourself) Costco. What you’re looking for in lamb chops is large meat-to-bone ratios and not a ton of fat. Costco has higher fat than most I’ve seen, but other sources I’ve found for lamb chops have very little meat on the bones. In this case, more meat/bone > fat ratio. And that completes my extent of math for the day. Costco’s Kirkland lamb chops are sourced from Australia and are plump, meaty little things.

To prepare the chops, first wash & pat dry. Place so the bones curve down on a clean cutting surface and grab your sharp chef knife. There is a large “V” of fat about mid-way, where the chop starts to meet the bone. Angle your knife at 45 degrees and slice down until you reach the bottom of the “V”. Then, approaching from the opposite side, do the same. Here are some photos for you visual learners.
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The slice of fat, which you don’t want to serve to your friends and you don’t want to go to your hips, will pull out like this:
DSC_0054Next, there is a layer of fat along the bones. Angle your sharp knife along that layer of fat and carefully “shave” off this thinner layer.
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Now, to get that pesky little tendon along the bottom of the chops. Here’s a little trick I learned from watching too many cooking shows on Sunday mornings. Once you get this bugger going, you can just pull it off. Make a small slice in between the tendon and the meat, grab hold, and pull off the meat.
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Your properly butchered chops should look like this:
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To finish, flip these little buggers over and slice in between the bones to make your lollipops.
DSC_0047Okay! We’re done butchering! On to the actual recipe (phew, thanks for staying with me this far!)

Ingredients for miso and soy marinated lamb chops
1 rack lamb chop lollipops, butchered per the above
Salt & Pepper
1/2 cup miso paste (found at Asian grocery stores or Amazon)
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 inch grated ginger
2 tbs olive oil

Ingredients for red wine reduction sauce
1/2 cup red wine
2 tbs butter, cold and cut into small cubes
Salt & Pepper

Clean, dry and butcher the lamb per the above. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and set aside. In a small bowl, mix together marinade ingredients (miso, soy, lemon, ginger. Spread marinade over all sides of the lamb chops and set aside for about 20 mn to marinade and make friends with each other.

In a large pan on medium-high (lean towards the high side) heat, add olive oil. When pan and oil are hot, sear lamb chops until browned, about 4mn each side for a medium rare cook. Test doneness by pressing down on fattest part of the chop with your finger and check against these handy bullet points:

  • Rare: Super squishy, like the top side of your hand in  between your thumb and forefinger
  • Medium rare: squishy with some resistance, like the fleshy part on the bottom side of your palm near your thumb
  • Well done: firm, like the middle of your palm

Set chops aside to rest for 5 minutes while you whip up some red wine reduction sauce. Place pan back on the stove on the same medium-high heat. Add the wine (you may want to hold your pan lid over the pan as the wine reacts with the oil and it goes everywhere for about 5 seconds). Note: NORMALLY on a red wine reduction sauce I would tell you to scrape up the meat bits – this is part of the point of a reduction sauce – BUT the miso soy marinade gives off a burned sugary soy carmel flavor, which, trust me, is a strange combo with the red wine. Allow the red wine to reduce to 1/2 of the volume and remove from heat. Whisk in cold butter one cube at a time, allowing each cube to fully immerse with the red wine before adding another. Add salt & pepper to taste. Place lamb chops over wasabi mashed potatoes and drizzle the red wine sauce on top.

Now you have absolutely delicious lamb chop lollipops! And since you know how to separate, season & sear them, feel free to play with your own favorite marinades, rubs, or serve them with simple salt and pepper. Set your table with pretty splatterware, invite all your friends, and don’t forget to muss up your hair for the “I slaved over these all day” effect.

Lamb Chops, sourced from Costco, marinated in miso and soy sauce, and served on Crow Canyon Home enamelware plates

Lamb Chops, sourced from Costco, marinated in miso and soy sauce, and served on Crow Canyon Home enamelware plates

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Cheers! Not pictured: me