Fall is definitely my favorite season and one that makes me want to cook up a storm. And this weekend was no exception. One of my favorite winter/fall dishes for large crowds is 24 hour pork – this is a succulent dish, but really does not work for small groups.
This weekend, I had planned a dinner party for 10 or 12, but due to a variety of circumstances ended up with 5. I also had a little hiccup with the Weather Channel when at one point, I swear, the temperature this weekend would be in the 40s … instead, it was in the 80s. But, unfortunately, before I realized the new party count and the temperature, I had already purchased a 10 pound pork shoulder. My intention was to serve this with all the great winter sides – au gratin potatoes or mac& cheese, veggies, etc.
But, instead of 12 people and cold weather, I had 5 people (all women) and warm weather, what is a hostess to do? The fall feeling meal just did not seem right. I do not have freezer space and wanted to use the pork, so I adjusted the menu and served the following:
- Italian cheese plate with home-made fig jam
- Asparagus Brie Tart
- Big spinach salad with pears, spiced pecans, dried cherries, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, and more
- Roasted root vegetable soup
- Refrigerator pickle
- Korean-ish tacos
- Spiced Pumpkin Bundt Cake
And, it was a fun night. I think everyone enjoyed the food; we started the evening with drinks on the patio and finished with cake in the living room. The pork is as easy as can be and made the house smell amazing … Charley and Pippi, my dogs, parked themselves in front of the oven. This recipe is originally from the Barefoot Contessa.
- Pork shoulder or butt (10-14 pounds)
- 6- 8 cloves of garlic
- 2-4 inches of fresh garlic
- Spices – your choice – I’ve used Chinese 5 spice, red pepper flakes, hot mustard
- Rice wine vinegar
- Olive oil
Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees. Make a paste with garlic, ginger, oil, vinegar, spices. Score the pork and rub the paste all over. Put the pork in the oven, for 30 minutes. Flip to the other side. Contests suggests using hands with potholders, I generally find a few wooden spoons work okay. Turn oven down to 225 degrees and cook for next 23 hours – word of warning, your oven may automatically turn off after 12 hours. Flip the pork and turn the heat back up to brown the other side for about 30 minutes. Remove from oven, it will fall apart. I usually use two forks to gently separate the meat.
But, the next day, I faced the reality of having about 9 pounds of pork left; okay probably more like 7.5-8 pounds once you discard … and one person to eat it. This is how I’ve handled it.
Meal number 1, after I removed the pork from the oven, I kept a small amount warm on the stove. I added some Ponzu sauce and used the juices from the roast. I served it with tortillas and a slaw made of finely chopped radish, carrots, and broccoli tossed with rice wine vinegar, sugar, Siraracha sauce, fresh lime juice. I also provided pepper jack cheese, cheddar- jack cheese and two sauces, a sweet chili sauce and goyza sauce. They were pretty good.
I slowly simmered part of the pork with a BBQ sauce. I used a store bought sauce as a base, but added some chipotles and, to balance the spice, some orange marmalade that I made from scratch. I then froze this to use later in the winter.
This is ultimate leftover meal. I used some of the leftover jam, pork, cheese and tortillas … and it was great. It was the perfect blend of savory and sweet. I layered some of the cheeses (Asiago with rosemary and truffle cheese) with the pork and a layer of the jam. Heat on the stove or in the microwave until the cheese melts … wonderful.
In addition to the other leftovers mentioned, I had 2 pounds of tomatillos, several peppers and 4 ears of corn. So, I made an impromptu tomatillo salsa, broiling them with a few peppers and the tossing them in the food processor with garlic, lime juice, cilantro, and garlic. I sautéed the corn with some more peppers then layered the spinach tortillas with pork, salsa, corn, and cheese and baked it. It will be lunch and dinner a few times this week.