Yes I heard that a lot. Pork Roast? Whose idea was that? Some people I told responded as if it was heresy.
Well, it was Curt’s idea. He decided to go rogue this year. It began when he asked me if my mother would mind if we didn’t have turkey. She is 92 and can be set in her ways on what she likes to eat. I said, “I’ll ask her.” Her response was simple, “As long as you have dressing and mashed potatoes and gravy I don’t care what you have.” Then she amended that and said, “No ham!” So, except for the protein, everything else was pretty much familiar turkey day fare. We had the mashed potatoes and gravy, the dressing (a new recipe with butternut squash and apples), brussels sprouts w/ maple syrup and bacon, cranberry relish, and a pumpkin dessert with pecan crust topping (courtesy of the another invited guest). There were just four of us at the feast.
Why the change? Well Curt always does the meat and he was just tired of doing turkey. Not that we eat turkey more than once or twice a year but he just wanted to change things up. I only remember one time in our 40 some Thanksgivings that we didn’t have turkey and that was a duck.
The recipe Curt chose was for Pernil, a Puerto Rican preparation most often served at celebrations and festivals. I’ll let him tell you how it was prepared.
Curt. This recipe is a mash-up of several I found on the interweb, hewing most closely to one by Mark Bittman, published in the NY Times.
1 pork shoulder, 4 – 5 pounds, boneless
4 or more large cloves of garlic, peeled
1 medium onion, quartered
1 Tbs. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. Ancho chili powder
1 Tbs. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 pkt. Sazon seasoning
1 tsp. achiote, ground (optional)
1 Tbs. piloncillo or dark brown sugar
Juice of 2 oranges
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tbs. parsley
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika (optional)
Puree everything, except the pork, in a blender, until smooth.
Pierce the pork all over with a small paring knife or carving fork to encourage penetration of the marinade. Put the pork in a large zipper bag and pour the puree over the pork. Squeeze as much air out of the bag as you can and place the bag in a pan or bowl large enough for the pork to lie flat. Refrigerate at least 4 hours up to 24 hours. Turn the bag over periodically to encourage even marination. ( I ran out to the garage every two hours until bedtime to turn it. It was below freezing here in Wisconsin so the garage served as a proper cooler).To roast, Preheat your oven to 300˚ degrees. Remove the pork from the bag and shake off as much puree as will easily come off. Put the pork in a roasting pan, fatty side up. Place a piece of parchment paper over the meat and then a piece of aluminum foil over the parchment. Seal the foil tightly around the edges of the roaster. Roast the meat at 300˚ for 1 hour. Lower the temperature in the oven to 275˚ and continue roasting for 2 more hours. Raise the oven temperature to 375˚ and roast an additional 30 minutes or until the meat is nicely browned. Rest the meat for 15 minutes before slicing. Bittman says the meat will be so tender that slicing it will be nearly impossible so, as he says, just whack it up into chunks and serve without apology. Ours sliced pretty well.
Jeanne here again. It was pretty tasty and it went remarkably well with dressing and cranberry sauce. What is different is what you do with the leftovers. Two nights later we had a wonderful spicy pork chili. And there is still plenty left for tacos, hash or maybe pork fried rice.