Friday, December 31, 2010

Smothered Pork Roast with Rice

ransform a pork shoulder into this simple but amazingly delicious dish with a quick sear, simple seasonings, lightly caramelized onions and a simple roux. Fantastic.
Transform a pork shoulder into this simple but amazingly delicious dish with a quick sear, simple seasonings, lightly caramelized onions and a simple roux. Fantastic.

Smothered Pork Roast with Rice

This Smothered Pork Roast recipe is as simple as it comes. A seared pork roast, seasoned with salt and pepper, smothered in a gorgeous garlic, rosemary and thyme infused gravy, and braised in a covered Dutch oven, low and slow. The original recipe called for a boneless pork butt or shoulder, but I could only find a 7 pound bone-in pork shoulder, and even that just barely squeezed into my Dutch oven. The downside to using the bone-in roast is that there is less meat, but it was enough for the two of us. It is a heavenly way to utilize a cut of pork that is most often reserved for pulled pork sandwiches though it can be used for other cuts as well. The fragrance of it will surely bring you back to grandma's kitchen and the flavor is just simply pork perfection.

When I say simple, I mean pure simplicity. Salt and pepper, and a simple sear which I did in a separate skillet due to the tight fit of my Dutch oven since I could only find a bone-in roast the day I wanted to make this.

I lightly caramelized the seasoned onion in the same skillet, added the garlic, and deglazed the pan to scrape up the browned bits. The original recipe used significantly more thyme and rosemary than I did, though now that I've tasted the roast, I think the recipe could probably take as much.

A buttery roux was cooked to the color of peanut butter in the bottom of the Dutch oven, to which the chicken broth was slowly stirred in.

The onions were stirred in, the roast placed on top, and a few scoops of the gravy were poured over the roast. That's it! Cover, place into a preheated 275 degree oven and let it cook for about 3 hours, turning about every 30 minutes and basting the top with some of the gravy each time it was turned.

This recipe was simply delicious, and if it doesn't drum up some memories of pork roast at grandma's house, I don't know what will.

In fact, this recipe was exactly that - a take on the very memories Chef Donald Link recalls from his own Granny's pork roast. Mine is a slightly adapted version of that recipe from his cookbook Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link's Louisiana, one of the cookbooks that I asked Santa to bring me this Christmas. I am so glad that I did. You can check out a sneak peek of some of the other recipes in this cookbook on my review post.

Recipe: Smothered Pork Roast with Rice

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 3 hours | Yield: About 8 to 10 servings

  • 6- 7 pound boneless pork roast (shoulder or butt)
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • 2 onions, halved and sliced thin
  • 6 cloves of garlic, cut into thin slices
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1 (32 ounce) carton of chicken broth
  • Perfect boiled rice

Sprinkle the pork shoulder with salt and pepper and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Heat canola oil over medium high heat in the bottom of a cast iron Dutch oven and sear the pork on all sides. Remove and set aside. In the same pot, add the onion, and cook until lightly caramelized. To the onion, add the sliced garlic, a pinch of salt, some freshly cracked black pepper, and the thyme and rosemary; add a splash of the chicken broth to deglaze the pan. Cook and stir another couple of minutes, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Remove the onion and set aside.

In that same pot, melt the butter over medium heat to start a roux. Stir in the flour a little at a time until fully incorporated. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches a peanut butter color, about 10 minutes. Slowly stir in the chicken broth until mixture is fully incorporated, thick and bubbly. Add the onions into the roux and stir.

Add the seared roast to the pot and ladle some of the gravy over the top of the roast. Cover and cook at 275 degrees F for 3 hours, or until meat pulls away easily with a fork, turning the roast about every 30 minutes and basting it with the gravy. Test for a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees F with an instant read thermometer.

Serve as is, or remove the roast, skim off the fat, and simmer gravy until reduced and thickened. Can also use a slurry of cornstarch and water to thicken, if desired. Serve the roast smothered with a generous amount of gravy and hot rice.

Cook's Notes: If you have herbes de provence in your pantry, use that here for the thyme and rosemary. Substitute other pork roast cuts, including smaller ones. Test for a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees F with an instant read thermometer. Can also cut small slits all over the roast and insert the slices of garlic into the slits, instead of adding it into the gravy. Salt and pepper and proceed with the recipe.

Electronic Pressure Cooker/Instant Pot: Reduce all ingredients by half, using about a 4 pound roast. Combine seasonings and rub all over roast. Heat oil in pressure cooker and brown on all sides. Remove roast and set aside. Add a splash of the 2 cups chicken stock and scrape up browned bits; pour remaining stock in pot. Bring to a boil; tap cancel. Return roast to pot, top with raw onion and garlic. Seal and set for 55 minutes on HIGH. Let pressure release naturally, then remove meat. Transfer liquid to gravy separator, reserving veggies; set aside. Set pot to saute, add butter and melt. Stir in flour; cook and stir for 3 minutes. Slowly incorporate strained drippings into pot, until fully blended in. Return veggies and chunks of meat to pot. Keep warm until ready to serve.


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©Deep South Dish
Adapted from Donald Link's Real Cajun
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Posted by on December 31, 2010
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