The Best Braised Pork Roast

Okay, first let me apologize for the tardiness on this post. I have had a few things come up that have required my full and immediate attention. So, I’m a little bit behind getting this post up, but after a long delay, here it is.

The leaves are turning, the air is a little cooler, and for some, the excitement and anticipation of fall sports has arrived. We now shift gears from barbecues and summer weather cooking to the slow cooking, fall baking, and those irresistible aromas that we all associate with this time of year. Personally, I love this time of year for all those warm, comforting fall classic dishes and this dish is no exception.

A few years ago I was on the hunt for a roast recipe that could deliver some real flavor, but could be executed in a few hours as opposed to a whole day or more. Not that I’m against that or haven’t done made roasts like that, but sometimes I really want to be able to make the a roast on the fly. So, the search for a recipe began.

I should back up and say that I had tried a few beef pot roasts, but I always ran into the same problem. Although the meat was well seasoned, it was always a little tough even though I could cut it with a fork. I tried adjusting the cook time, the size of the roast, and the amount of liquid I used, but the results always ended up the same. So, I wanted to see if I could have an easier time with another protein option. I ended up turning my attention to pork to see if I could achieve the desired results.

The premise is super simple; season, sear, reinforce flavors, and cook low and slow. After some searching, I found a recipe that was very much what I had in mind and here is how to make it.

Ingredients

1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 ( 3 1/2-5lb ) bone-in pork shoulder roast, patted dry
Salt
Fresh ground pepper
4-7 gloves of garlic, peeled
2-3 stems of fresh rosemary
2-3 stems of fresh thyme
1/4 c of balsamic vinegar
1/2-3/4 c of red wine( something you would drink )
Beef stock to cover 2-3 inches of your cooking vessel
1-3 tbsp worcestershire
1 medium red onion chopped into thick half rounds

Instructions 

Season pork liberally with salt and pepper or other seasonings
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Place Dutch oven or heavy cooking vessel over medium heat and add olive oil
Sear pork on all sides until pork is golden brown and crust forms

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Remove pork, drain off most of the fat, deglaze with all liquids, scrape bottom of pan to get all those good bits off the bottom of the pan, add remaining ingredients, and return pork to cooking vessel.

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Cover with foil and lid and cook for about 3 hours or until pork breaks apart easily with a fork and
looks like this.



You have probably noticed that a number of the ingredients are in italics. Since I’ve made this a number of times, I have had a chance to tweak the recipe and create an amazing flavor profile. Feel free to make any changes that you want or use your own seasonings. If you aren’t sure how else to season your pork, check out my all purpose rub or coffee rub for additional inspiration.


The best part about this recipe is that it incorporates a lot of the skills and tricks I have shared in some previous posts. Remember, we are trying to build on some skills and add some new techniques to the arsenal. As I have said, sometimes simply prepared food can be the best food.

What I love about this roast is that you can transform it into anything that you want. You could use it for tacos, sliders, pulled pork, french fry toppers, carnitas, hash, frittata, a chili topper, a base for a tortilla soup, and a number of other dishes I haven’t even mentioned. The meat is rich, tender, a little floral from the rosemary, some undertones of garlic, and leaves you wanting more. It does tend to go fast, so I would recommend that you make enough to have leftovers. Speaking of leftovers, a little pork, a veggie or two, and a potato makes for a quick meal any night of the week.

There is one very important note I want to talk about before you run off to the store to make this dish. I called this a braise in my title, which is simply searing and cooking slowly in a little bit of flavored liquid. This is the opposite of a standard pot roast cooking method where you cover most of the meat with liquid instead of just a little bit of liquid. They both have their places in the kitchen, but I favor the braise. In addition, like the short ribs, I cover the vessel with foil to hold in all the steam and this helps both to break down the meat and keeps all the moisture in the meat.

This dish does take a little extra time, but as usual, the payoff is huge! Truthfully, I have made this dish more than once in a weeks time. It was well worth it!

I hope you are inspired and will take your roasts to the next level. Let me know what you think by sending me an email or commenting on the post to give me your feedback!

Enjoy!

I’ll Make Chili For You

When it comes to cooking, there is nothing better than a dish that simmers away on the stove top for hours. Not only is the smell intoxicating, it provides a nice continuous gentle heat in the house, and lifting the lid on a gently simmering pot of delicious ingredients is the best! That only gets better when you can basically throw a bunch stuff in a pot, walk away for a while, and let it simmer away until it turns to something flavorful, satisfying, and just plain tasty.

I started thinking about this since I am helping with a family member who is very ill and trying to make sure that I can provide the one thing I know, food. But, I wanted to be able to create a few recipes rather quickly with little fuss. I could think of nothing better than homemade chili.

Let’s talk chili, I think there is a stigma about chili that hangs around. It is either too spicy, salty, too meat-centric or it just takes too long to long to make. Sounds like a familiar story, right? I am here to tell you that you can have chili ready to eat in about ninety minutes and you can have it your way. Yes, your way. I will tell you that I’ve never made my own chili until the other day, and it couldn’t have been easier!

For those of you who don’t like my billion photos, you are in luck, because I made this recipe under a deadline and I only took two photos. As luck would have it, only one photo really turned out the way I wanted. Rest assured, I won’t let my photo taking lapse because I would hate to deprive you of that.

Click here for the original chili recipe, which is a recipe I adapted from allrecipes.com. Below is my version.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green or red bell pepper
  • 1/4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 teaspoons of paprika
  • 1 (29 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 (16 ounce) can beans, drained such as red, black or navy beans
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

    1. In a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium high heat, saute ground beef until browned, about 5-7 minutes. Season both ground beef and pepper and onion mixture with a little salt and pepper. Remove ground beef with slotted spoon, drain most of the fat, leaving a little to saute peppers and onions until softened about 5-7 more minutes.

 

  1. Add the remaining ingredients, reserving the beans until near the end of the cooking time. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. With about 15 minutes remaining, stir in beans till they are warmed through and serve.

Below are a few changes I made to this recipe:

I doubled up on the canned beans to give the chili some extra substance and body. This is great way to make it if you want to go the vegetarian route.

*Scaling back on the dried spice is okay. I only used about a 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder and about an 1/8-1/4 teaspoon of cumin. Both of these go a long way and tend to really perfume and flavor the dish. When you “bloom” or cook dried spices in some oil over heat, those spices release a lot of their oil and can intensify in flavor. Make sure to give the spices time to develop so you can accurately adjust your seasoning level if needed. Remember, it is easier to add than have to try to take some of that spice out. Also, I omitted all the jalapeno as well.

*Just a quick follow up related to the spice/heat level of the chili. I was making it for someone who can’t really tolerate much spice, but I wanted to give the chili a little undertone of heat. If you want to add more chili powder, jalapeno or something more intense like a fresno chili, then go for it! Remember, it is about knowing your audience and what they can tolerate. We want our family and friends to enjoy what we are cooking, but not make them feel like you are serving a bowl of Mount Vesuvius. Again, unless that is your goal, then let it rip!

Paprika makes the world go round. Seriously, it has such a great flavor profile and provides a subtle depth. I added a couple of teaspoons to the chili when I made it. Oh, it also adds an incredible color and that makes it really look like you fussed over it for hours even though you didn’t. I will call this a cooking hack to save you some time.

After some stirring, perhaps a beverage or two, and some patience you are rewarded with this.

Serve this in a bowl with some cheese, sour cream, and a little cilantro on top. If you want to step this up, spoon some of this over some chips and top with cheese for some chili cheese nachos. Oh, still not enough hacks? Okay, how about some scrambled eggs topped with a little homemade chili to get your day started? Do it! You won’t be disappointed.

Want to make a vegetarian version? As I said, no problem! Take out the ground beef, add a little vegetable stock, add some fresh yellow corn, and toss in some sauteed mushrooms near the end until they are warmed through and have absorbed some of that amazing chili base.

If you end up with tons of leftovers, don’t worry! Throw some
pre-portioned containers into the freezer for a quick lunch or dinner anytime you.

Once again, the twists on this are unlimited If you really want to wake this up, add some beer or coffee to really help reinforce some of those great flavors. The limits are your own, so be creative! I promise, nothing will be beat a bowl of this on a cold blustery days around the table with your loved ones.

Enjoy!

Seasoning-Rubbing You The Right Way

I am digging in the pantry to grab my coffee rub and I realize that I barely have enough to season the piece of pork that is destined for the grill. This is not good, I think to myself. In order to fill the gap, I reach for another rub that was the original inspiration for my coffee rub. To my own culinary dismay, I had to scrape and shake out every morsel out of that container so I could get to the barbecue. As soon as the meat was on the grill, I wrote myself a note to get to the store and buy myself some more of this standard seasoning. I finished dinner and announced I needed to go to the store tomorrow so I could buy more. Buy more?? This is five ingredients. Why am I not making some myself? I don’t know about you, but it was time to resolve that problem. So what is it?

Before I get into what I made, I have talked about rubs on the blog before, but I can’t resist the opportunity to give you another example of the flavor combinations you can achieve. For example, you can check out my coffee rub if you want something that is a little outside the box, but I promise, you can’t go wrong.

Alright, let’s get back to the main event. Say hello to our honored guests paprika, salt, fresh ground pepper, brown sugar, and dried thyme.

 

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Needless to say, when these five get into the room together, you can be certain they will bring amazing flavor that is sure to please any palate.These are guests that I invite to my dinner table time and time again. It is sweet with the brown sugar, spicy with the black pepper, the dried thyme gives it a bit of herbaceous undertone, the salt provides a little bit of punch, and the paprika rounds it out with the earthy, smokiness with just a little a bit of heat on the back end.
This will work for fish, chicken, pork, vegetables, steak, lamb or any other protein you want to cook. You can either use this on the grill or if you are searing in a pan. The possibilities are endless for how to apply it. You could use it for a marinade, low and slow cooking, quick cooking on the barbecue or sprinkle a little on some freshly grilled buttered corn. The corn is one of my favorites!!

How do you make it? It is pretty simple. Mix the following in a bowl.

2 tbsps paprika
1 tbsp kosher salt
3/4tsp-1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp dried thyme

Combine and store and a container of your choice. Done! As usual, feel free to adjust this mixture if you want more or less of anything. I make a double batch as a single batch goes very quickly in my house.

Enjoy!