Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Things we know how to do...

Sometimes it's all about doing simple things well. And learning to do them well takes trial and error and lots and lots of practice. Years later, it may dawn on you that...hey, I've got this thing down!

One of the things that is bordering on perfection in my house is my roommate's method of making oven-roasted potatoes. I have made them myself many times, of course, but Cyd's always come out SO much better! So I finally pinned her down and made her describe her technique in as much detail as she could muster. Simple, but simply delectable! Here are her directions:

Cyd's Oven-Roasted Potatoes

Wash but do not peel your potatoes. Cut into big but still bite-sized chunks (for an average-sized potato, in half, then in sixths). Throw them into something like a glass oblong baking dish, and toss the potatoes with enough olive oil to coat. Then add some stock (preferably, vegetable but whatever you have on hand will do) about halfway up the potatoes. Season liberally with coarse salt and pepper (or your favorite seasoning blend) and lots of minced garlic. Also, feel free to throw in any herbs that you like--fresh thyme is a favorite here or rosemary. Just squish the whole herbs down into the broth.

Roast uncovered at 450 degrees for about an hour or until fork-tender inside and browned outside. (Keep adding a little stock as it cooks off, until the potatoes are almost completely tender, then let them finish roasting until they are as crispy as you want them to be.) Cyd says the "secrets" are the vegetable broth for extra flavor and the high roasting temperature to get them all lovely and browned.

The second thing that I've decided is ready to be shared with the world is my method of making a pork roast. We've all had a lot of dry, flavorless pork roasts in past, and I am making it my business to rid the world of the inedible lot of them! Now, parts of my "recipe" may sound a little weird--like ill-advised Asian-German fusion perhaps--but please trust me when I say that this combination of flavors is divine and perfectly enhances the succulent porkiness of the roast. Here's what you do:

Gina's Slow-Braised Fusion Pork Roast

You start with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a 5-qt. stock pot. (You could also do this in a large skillet and then transfer to a slow cooker.) Rub a 3-4 lb. pork SHOULDER roast (avoid the loin roast...it is usually dry no matter how long you braise it) all over with salt, pepper and granulated garlic, or your favorite seasoning blend plus extra garlic and pepper. Brown in the olive oil on all sides. Chop up a large onion, and once the roast is browned, toss the onion in and cook until translucent in the fond (the browned bits on the bottom).

At this point, you could transfer this to a crock pot and then continue with the following instructions. To the pot, add two cups of stock (vegetable or beef), and a pound of sauerkraut. (Even if you think you don't like sauerkraut like I used to believe, add it anyway! You won't be sorry!) Also shake on about a tablespoon each of worcestershire sauce and soy sauce--I usually use reduced sodium.

Cover the pot, and braise in a low oven (275 degrees) for about 2 1/2 hours. Halfway through, turn the roast, and I like to coat the top with some of the juicy sauerkraut to keep everything moist. After 2 1/2 hours, I flip the roast again, cover it, and put it back in the oven which I then turn off. I let the roast sit in the still-warm oven for about a half an hour while I get on with my sides. Homemade mashed potatoes are a must, topped with some of that savory sauerkraut, and then a green veggie to give you the illusion that you're eating healthy. ;-)

*Just the most delicious, most comforting meal EVER that will surely warm you up now that the weather has become brisk. Make one for yourself soon, and then leave a comment to thank me for my gastronomical genius. Tee hee.

1 comment:

Hollis said...

Hi Gina, I made your pork roast last week. We were having an awful cold rainy spell and it seemed like the perfect meal to greet Michael at the door after a long trip home. I came out just as described and was just wonderful. Thought you would like to know. We enjoyed it so much! Holly B.