Busy Week Ahead

I’ve got a busy week ahead where unfortunately I’ve got to go out of town one night.  However, I will not leave Beatriz to starve (or worse, make quesadillas for herself).

It’s early Sunday morning, and the first task of the busy week, is lunch with the folks.  My mom and step dad got back from one of their bi-annual trips to their homeland, Haiti, so this’ll be the first time I’ve seen them since the new year.

Since my folks are old as dirt they always want their meet to be super tender, so I thought some slow roasted pork was the way to go.  I bought a half fresh picnic ham, and put it in the oven last night at 225 degrees.

Slow Roasted Pork

1 5-6 lbs fresh picnic ham
1-2 tbs fennel seed, crushed
1 tbs salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tbs dry rosemary
1-2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
2 large onions, sliced
5-6 cloves of garlic
4 apples- cut into large chunks
1/2 bottle of white wine- Something of the sweeter variety Reisling or gewurztraminer
1/4- 1/2 cup chicken stock

Method: Score fat cap of fresh ham.   Season with spices.  Let marinade for two hours.  Place sliced onions and apples at bottom of baking dish.  Place ham on top.  Heat oven to 225 degrees.  Place ham in oven and roast for 8 hours (or overnight like I did).  Raise temperature to 300 and pour wine into dish (to aid in making a pan gravy) and roast for an additional 1.5-2 hours until the ham is fall of the bone tender and the juices are nice and sticky.

Remove ham and let rest (at least 20 minutes).  Strain pan juices and apples and onions through sieve, and really mash up the vegetables to get every bit of juice and stuff from the apples.  De-fat pan juices, and place back in baking dish.  Add chicken stock, and place back in the oven until mixture reduces by about a quarter (or desired level of thickness, feel free to add a little flour (mixed with chicken stock) or maybe some butter to mount the sauce).  I used the mashed up apple and onion to thicken the sauce to good effect.

Shred the pork.  Feel free to remove the crackling and place it back in the oven at 400 (watch it closely) to get it nice and crispy.  Serve with pan sauce.

In addition to this pork, I’ve prepared some braised red cabbage with apples (sautéed in some leftover goose fat and braised in a little of the Gewürztraminer, chicken stock, a little sherry vinegar, and salt and pepper) and some roasted Japanese squash (very similar to butternut squash or what have you, roasted with a little oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, and salt and pepper).


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