So I invited Alice & Toto for diner last Friday – because that’s what 30 something do on a Friday night. And, reading that article by Jane Sigal in the New York Times on how to find yummy – yet cheap – meat parts to cook, I set up my mind on pork shoulders.
Well, I actually had a plan set up for lamb shoulder – but here I am at fairway with a lamb shoulder at 6,99/lb and a pork shoulder at 1,99/lb. So I had to re-think my plans. No offense Alice & Toto; I want only the best for you. But if that best comes at 1,99/lb instead of 6,99/lb, it’s even better. So here I am on a Thursday night falling asleep making plans for diner (that’s usually how I fall asleep) when F. starts complaining about pain in his shoulder, so much that we end up in the ER at 5 in the morning. Silver lining is: I met the handsomest cowboy ever.
Turns out Florent will very probably be too high on meds to handle a diner without drooling on his plate. So we had to cancel Alice & Toto. But, as you learn when you are unemployed (or rather, as people tell you when you are unemployed), one always should look at the bright side. So here are my bright sides:
- I get to test my recipe one more time to get it perfect when Alice & Toto come for real & and get the perfect side to go with my perfect dish;
- I get to have loooots of leftover to test other recipes with pulled pork and indulge in my favorite part of cooking: l’art d’accomoder les restes.
But first thing first: the shoulder.
I tweaked a recipe of Pernil al Forno (Puerto-Rican roasted pork shoulder) from Tyler Florence I found on foodnetwork.com to make what turned out to be a very tasty, tender, rich shoulder with a fine glaze (although I am pretty sure there was nothing Puerto Rican to it). Here it goes:
Recession-Proof Pork Shoulder
1pork shoulder (5 to 6 lbs)
2 1/2 tblspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper
3 tblspoons of olive oil
2 tblspoons of white vinegar
4-5 garlic gloves (yes 4- 5)
1 handful of flat-leaves parsley
2 or 3 branches of thyme
Preparation: 10 minutes – start the day before for the marinade
Cooking: 5 hours (or one hour per pound)
- Slice the skin of the pork shoulder to make nice squares like that.
- Thinly chop the parsley & thyme, add crushed garlic (make sure you remove the germ), salt & pepper. Add olive oil & white vinegar.
- Rub the purée on the shoulder. And please, do it with love and great sensuality, even if your hands are going to reek of garlic for the next two days.
- Envelop the shoulder in plastic film and keep onernight in the fridge (I guess it would be Ok to leave if for three hours only, but you might have to use 3 tbsppons of salt then).
- Remove your meat from the fridge at least 30 minutes before (never good to shock the meat from one extreme temperature to another.
- Pre-heat your oven at 300F.
- Roast the meat in your favorite Le Creuset – or IKEA – French oven on high heat on every side to get a nice brown color. No need of fat here, pork is fat enough, believe me. Add two cups of water.
- Cook for 5 hours (or one hour per pound), covered, at 300F. The key here is to keep the meat moist by spreading the juice on the roast roughly every 30 minutes. You can leave it open for the last 30 minutes to make it crispy.