Roasted pork shoulder with rosemary, mustard and garlic is pictured. Leftovers of this slow-roasted dish make amazing quesadillas, burritos, soups, stews and sandwiches. Photo by: Mia via AP
February 15, 2017 10:25:16 AM
I was talking with a friend about perfect meals for entertaining, and we went through the usual suspects: lasagnas, chili, tenderloins. And then he mentioned that his favorite go-to entertaining dish was a pork butt or shoulder left in a low oven for so long that it practically fell apart. A cut of meat so flexible that the cooking time could be stretched by an hour, or three, and the roast wouldn't be any worse for the wear. A roast that could be plunked on the table whenever everyone was ready to eat.
Long ago, a chef had explained to him that meat likes to be cooked at around the temperature it reaches when it is done. While I don't think that is always the case (flame-kissed steaks and burgers anyone?), it made nice sense when I thought in terms of a big, tough hunk of meat, like this pork shoulder, which needs low and slow cooking to make it turn from impossibly tough to tender.
Rushing the process won't help; you've got to keep the heat low and the time long. The best part? This is free time you can spend reading, dancing, sleeping, cleaning a closet, saving kittens from trees.
You can leave the roast in the very low oven for an extra one to three hours with no repercussions. If you feel it needs a bit more browning or caramelization at the end, turn the heat up to 450 F for 15 minutes before pulling the roast out of the oven, and then make sure it rests for a bit so the fibers can relax and the juices regroup.
If all has gone as planned, the meat will be so tender that the slices won't hold together. That's part of the appeal.
You might serve this with some green beans, roasted potatoes and a salad. Leftovers make amazing quesadillas, burritos, soups, stews, sandwiches and so on.
FALL-APART ROASTED PORK SHOULDER WITH ROSEMARY, MUSTARD AND GARLIC
Serves 10 to 12
Start to finish: 8 hours (mostly hands off)
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
3 anchovies, rinsed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons coarse Dijon mustard
1 6-pound boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and tied
Nutrition information per serving: 341 calories; 113 calories from fat; 13 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 137 mg cholesterol; 539 mg sodium; 1 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 0 g sugar; 51 g protein.
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