Friday, January 4, 2013

Slow Roasted Pork

* 2 tbsp fennel seeds
* 1 tbsp sea, rock or kosher salt
* 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and roughly chopped
* 4 medium carrots
* 3 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
* 1 bulb of garlic, cloves peeled and roughly smashed
* bunch of fresh thyme
* large pork shoulder on the bone, skin scored
* olive oil
* 750 ml bottle white wine
* 1 pint chicken or vegetable stock

1. Preheat your oven to maximum (I set it to 550).
2. Smash the fennel and salt in a pestle and mortar until fine.
3. Put the roughly chopped vegetables, garlic, and thyme into a large roasting pan or Dutch oven.
4. Pat the pork with olive oil and then sit it on top of the vegetables.  Massage all the fennel and salt into the pork.
5. Roast the pork for 20-30 minutes or until it is beginning to color.  Turn the oven down to 250 degrees, put the top on, and cook the roast for a long time.  As a reference, if your roast is 11lbs or larger, 9-12 hours.  If your roast is 5 lbs, 5 hours.  
6. Take the top off the pan and pour the wine into the bottom of the pan.  and let it cook for another hour.
7. Remove the roast from the oven and let it rest for 30 minutes in the pan.  After 30 minutes, move the roast to a cutting board.
8. Strain the vegetables from the liquid.  Place the vegetables in one bowl, and add the stock to the remaining liquid in the pan.
9. Mash or blend the vegetables to create an accompanying vegetable puree to serve with the roast.
10. Bring the stock and roasting liquid to a boil to create a gravy.  If desired, add a little thickener to alter the consistency of the sauce.
11.  Carve or shred the pork and serve with the gravy and vegetable puree.

Ryan and I are not licorice fans.  I was a little nervous about all the fennel...but fear not!  The flavor of the roast was mind but fantastic! 

My roast was 5 lbs.  I used 1 fennel bulb, 4 carrots, 2 onions and about 2/3 of the head of garlic.  I also made the full 2 tbs fennel seeds/1 tbsp salt, but probably only used about 1/2.  I also used a little more than 1/2 the bottle of wine. I also didn't have fresh thyme, so added some dried in with the vegetables.  I roasted my pork fat side up.

Once the roast was out of the oven, I forgot to add the stock to the sauce!  I boiled the sauce and added a little Wondra, and the gravy was excellent.  Also, I've never pureed vegetables like this before, and was quite skeptical.  My reaction when I tried them was "Wow!  This tastes a lot better than I expected!"  I ended up really enjoying them and dipped my pork in that instead of using the gravy.  It was also a nice substitute for the mashed potatoes that I served.  My kids love mashed potatoes with gravy. Ryan and I ate the puree, Owen tried it, but the other kids didn't try them.  Everyone loved the pork, though, so this recipe is definitely a keeper!

I used the leftovers later in the week for pork and caramelized onion quesadillas.  So nice to re-purpose leftovers!

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