It’s no secret that I love pork! It’s not incredibly expensive and there are so many cuts that you can work with and it’s easy to cook. One of my favorite cuts is the pork shoulder which can also be called the butt. This is perfect for stews like chile verde and posole, shredded for tacos and carnitas . You can tie it up like a roast and braise it with some liquid (think wine or stock) on top of the stove or in the oven.
The December issue of Sunset magazine has a great article (Meet the Unsung Roasts) about cuts of meat that are generally a lot less expensive than other roasts. There are recipes for lamb and beef but of course I zeroed in on the Pork Shoulder Roast. I made a few changes to the recipe and it was delicious and I would definitely make this again.
Pork Shoulder Roast with Figs, Garlic and Pinot Noir
1-1/2 cups dried Mission Figs, cut in half
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon anise seed
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme sprigs
1 bottle (750 ml.) Pinto Noir
1 boned pork shoulder (butt) roast), about 3-1/2 lbs.
8 cloves garlic , peeled and cut into large slivers
About 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
Put figs, sugar, anise, 1 tablespoon thyme and I cup wine in medium saucepan. Cover and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until figs are tender, about 10-25 minutes. Let cool.
With a small knife, make 16 slivers into pork about 1″ long and 1″ deep. Insert a garlic sliver and then a fig half into each cut and close meat over figs. Set aside any garlic or figs and liquid that is left over.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using kitchen twine, tie pork into a neat roast. In small bowl combine 1 tablespoon thyme, , 1-1/2 teaspoons salt. freshly ground pepper and the olive oil. Rub all over the roast.
Heat a dutch oven large enough to hold the roast over medium high heat and brown the pork on all sides. Turn down heat so you don’t scorch the roast. Remove the meat from pan, turn the heat down to medium and add reserved garlic to pan. Cook, stirring often, until light golden, about 1 minute. Pour in the remaining wine from the bottle and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits. Return the roast to the pan and spoon juices over. Cover pan and place in oven.
Bake pork until tender, about 2-1/2 hours. Stir reserved fig mixture into pan and cook, covered, about 15 minutes more. Remove roast from oven and take out of pan and cover loosely with foil. Reduce liquid to about 2 cups over medium-high burner. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon thyme. Slice meat and pour juices over.
I used dried prunes instead of figs (there’s a fig hater in our house). This was delicious served with sauteed swiss chard and scalloped potatoes. Photo couresy of Sunset magazine.