What to Cook when the Snow Falls and the Wind Blows.
Today I am cooking in a Basque tradition, a piece of pork smothered in spices and slow roasted at 300 degrees. Slow roasting has its roots in rural cooking where few people had ovens and meats were placed at the back of the fire pit, fire place or bakers oven and heated all day long. When a roast is cooked in this manner, all the luscious fats render into the meat – self basting the roast. This is a rich and delicious meal, a guilty pleasure that brings friends and family together for a memorable feast!
Seek out the best piece of pork that you can find – I have made this with a supermarket pork picnic and is is delicious . But if you are lucky enough to have an organic or heritage pork producer the result is so much better. Here in NYC I shop at the Union Square Farmer’s Market and the gentleman at Violet Hill Farms or Flying Pigs have OUTSTANDING pork. Nothing comes close in my book. The end result exceptional with heritage producers. Here is the deal, the pork is more flavorful and the fat is well – out of this world.
Preparing the meat could not be easier. Unwrap the roast. Wipe it down. Cut slices of garlic and use the sharp end of a pairing knife to create a slit in the skin and push the sliced garlic into the skin. Rub the roast with a mix of fragrant spices – in my opinion , paprika is key, mustard, cumin, salt & pepper are some of my other favorites. Some of you have no problem playing with spices – others need a formula. I’d like to recommend Josephine’s Feast Pork Spice Rub. it has at it’s base Spanish Smoked Paprika, with Black Mustard Seed, Cumin, & Garlic. The rub has no salt – just before placing the roast in the oven rub it down with natural salt – also available at JosephinesFeast.com or in your kitchen shelf
When the roast is ready for the oven, place on a rack and pour 2 to 4 cups of apple cider in the baking pan. Just enough to cover the bottom but not touch the roast.
Slow cook for at 325 for the first 30 minutes then drop the temperature to 300 for the next 3 to 6 hours.
Check the roast every hour making sure there is enough apple cider under the roast to keep it from drying out
Tent the roast under foil for 10 to 15 minutes.
It is best served with roasted potatoes – I like to quarter organic potatoes – Yukon gold or other small sized spuds. Drizzle with olive oil, rosemary, whole garlic cloves, and salt. Roast in the oven with the pork for 2 hours. While the meat is resting – turn the temperature up to 350 for 15 minutes.
Garlicky greens or a wild arugula salad dressed with Balsamic vinegar and olive oil are a great addition.
As a condiment Josephine’s Feast! Apple Compote cooked with Dijon Mustard is the perfect match. Made with Organic Heirloom Apples it is a tradition accompanyment with roasted meat in Normandy.