Easter rolled around and rather than have a barbecue because of this once in a lifetime global pandemic called Corona, I decided to make a slow roasted pork shoulder and let my oven do most of the work. For me, holidays mean a hearty roast dinner and if I can prepare the sides at once, or at least in the drippings of the roast . . . I am a happy camper, COVID-19 be damned.
If you have ever made Suzanne Goin’s herb and mustard pork roast from her Sunday Suppers at Lucques cookbook, you know the power of fresh herbs, garlic, dijon mustard and olive oil have on a pork roast.
And once again I am salivating as I type.
First off are going to want to make the wet rub first and get it on the roast a couple hours before we want to start cooking. Since I’m always home these days I went ahead and did it the night before, which never hurts in my book.
I give the herbs a slight rough chop and opt for a mince when it comes to the garlic. I find it is easy to over chop herbs and what I’m left with looks like it came from a lawn mower. Add the mustard and slowly add the olive oil, whisking as you go. You want to emulsify the oil to the mix because it’s always better when we stick together. Add salt and pepper to taste.
To be honest with you, I eyeball all of this. I look at the size of my roast and see what I will need. My pork shoulder was about 5 pounds, so I used about 4 cloves of garlic, half a bunch of flat leaf parsley that you get from the grocery store, 1/3rd cup olive oil and about 1.5-2 tablespoons of dijon mustard. Look, I’m clearly not a baker but you should be able to gather from those ratios what you should be going after.
24 hours later and it’s already damn tasty looking. Now comes the “how do you cook this cut part?” So pork shoulder is considered a “tough” cut and needs to be cooked slowly, and takes well to a braise. I wanted the bite of a roast, with a crispy exterior but I also had to make sure it was tender enough to . . . well not choke my 8 year old.
I opted to roast it at 300 degrees in a convection oven until a probe thermometer hit 165 degrees. After that I pulled the roast out and let it rest on a wire rack while I worked on this . . .
The glorious drippings from the roast. Now a pork shoulder has a lot of fat on it so a lot of that fat renders off into these drippings. For sake of my eventual sauce and my desire not to raise my cholesterol levels into the 400s I skimmed some of this fat off. Now I could cook some potatoes.
I cranked the oven up to 375 and turn the potatoes every 15 minutes until they were tender but not totally done. Then it was time to add some vegetables in an effort to keep the aforementioned cholesterol down a few points.
With so much fat and flavor waiting in the wings, I opted to toss the broccoli in a touch of olive oil and seasoned it lightly with salt and pepper.
I tossed the florets onto the potatoes and cooked them for about 15-20 minutes. Basically a one (roasting)pan meal.
Once the potatoes and broccoli were done I quickly went to work on a sauce. I wasn’t going for anything more than a rustic jus, so I added some white wine, cranked up the burner, brought it to a vigorous simmer and scraped up all the brown bits I could. Went and added a little Dijon mustard to thicken till I got something like this:
Like I said, I wanted something rustic. If you wanted to make the sauce a little more uniform you could add some cream to thicken it all up in which case you might want to add a little more mustard. Flour could work too as a thickener if you were feeling a little more down home gravy about things. Heck you could add tomato paste and chicken stock and really let it reduce. But me, I wanted to get right into this . . .
I said I wanted to get that crispy roast exterior right? Well obviously the roast had time to sit while I cooked the potatoes and broccoli so I went ahead and tented it with foil and stuck it back in the oven at 475 for about 10 minutes. The roast cooled off significantly while the sides were cooking so I wasn’t too concerned that my internal temp after the heat blast was just 150 degrees. Especially when all I wanted to do was gaze at this beauty.
While I gathered up my troops to get to the table, all that was left to do was to make some plates.
Tender as can be my friends. There was a bone that easily came out with a steak knife and a little pressure. The slow roasted pork shoulder found that sweet spot of a well seared dry roast exterior while possessing an interior that makes a dinner knife seem optional.
This one is another keeper folks. The roast is very affordable, the oven does the work and all in all this slow roasted pork shoulder satisfies the palate and is good on the wallet. Call it a poor man’s prime rib, call it a fine Holiday meal, or call it your next dinner – I hope you enjoy as much as me and my squad did.