February 26, 2011

Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder, Wild Rice Pilaf & Carrots with Honey-Ginger Glaze

Last weekend, I made another great pork roast.  The two sides I made to go with the roast were pretty excellent as well, and one of them was an original recipe of mine.

The pork roast recipe I used was Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Peach Sauce, from the September/October 2010 issue of Cook's Illustrated.  

You start with a bone-in pork shoulder roast (also called the pork butt or Boston butt), season it with kosher salt and brown sugar and let it rest overnight, then rub it down with black pepper and roast it at a low temperature for about 6 hours. 

That slow roasting melts away most of the fat, including the intramuscular fat, which makes for an incredibly moist and tasty roast.  

I used some of the peaches Juli froze late last summer to make the sauce for the roast.  The peaches were mixed with some of the pan juices, white wine, sugar, rice vinegar and some other ingredients, and the resulting sauce was savory and sweet with the slightest sour undertone.  

I also made a Wild Rice Pilaf using a recipe from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, which has fast become one of my two go-to cookbooks (the other being The New Best Recipe).   Long-grain rice is cooked with sauteed carrots and onions, chicken broth and seasonings, then mixed in with cooked wild rice, toasted pecans and cranberries.   The recipe called for dried cranberries, but I instead used some frozen cranberries from the stock I'd tossed in the freezer back during the holidays.  The different ingredients provided the side dish with a nice mix of textures and flavors, and the fruit element made the Pilaf go along well with the pork roast.

Finally, I made up some Carrots with Honey-Ginger Glaze.   I based the technique on the general recipe for Glazed Carrots from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, but the flavor mix was my own.   I attempted a blend of sweet, sour, salty and savory flavors, and the result went along excellently with the other two dishes.  We'll be making this one again, I'm pretty sure.

These three dishes made for a really nice dinner, and there were enough leftovers that we'll be able to enjoy some lunch-size portions several times over the coming days.

Carrots with Honey-Ginger Glaze

yield = 4 servings

1              pound carrots, peeled and bias-sliced
1/2           cup low-sodium chicken broth
3              tablespoons honey
1/2           teaspoon salt
1              tablespoon unsalted butter
1              teaspoon fresh peeled and grated ginger
1/4           teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/8           teaspoon ground cinnamon
1              pinch cayenne pepper
2              tablespoons lemon juice

Combine the carrots, broth, 1 tablespoon honey and salt in a large skillet.  Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for aother 5 minutes.

Uncover, return to a boil and cook until the liquid is reduced to 1-2 tablespoons.  Stir in the butter.  Once the butter is melted, stir in the grated ginger, black pepper, cinnamon and cayenne pepper.   Cook until the liquid has cooked to a thickened glaze, then remove from heat.  Stir in lemon juice and serve.

Cooking Tip:  When peeling vegetables such as carrots or potatoes, peel them directly onto one or two paper towels.  When you're done, just fold the paper towel up and throw it away.  This saves cleaning the countertop (carrots can stain if they're juicy), and it quicker and easier than picking up the peels from the bottom of the kitchen sink if you don't have a disposal unit.

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