Pork shoulder recipes are a funny thing. At least the past few that I have made. Most of the recipes I’ve used recently call for a few hours in the oven, and during more than half of that time I’m convinced that the recipe is going to be a massive fail. The Succulent Braised Pork from Melissa D’Arabian a few weeks back is an excellent example, as is the recipe I made this past Sunday.
But I’ve noticed something magical happens in the last hour of cooking the pork.
It all comes together beautifully. In a way that almost takes your breath away.
The recipe I made Sunday was from the October issue of Martha Stewart Living (and as an aside, their recipe search box leaves a lot to be desired. After twenty minutes, I gave up searching for these two recipes and retyped them below. It shouldn’t be that difficult to find recipes from the current issue. Just sayin’). I made this particular recipe for two reasons. One, I like a “cook all afternoon” recipe for a not-really-but-should-have-been-lazy Sunday afternoon, and two, the article also featured recipes to use up the leftovers, recipes that didn’t resemble the original dish. Love that.
Company was due at 6 pm, and by 5:15, I was seriously second-guessing my decision to try this recipe, particularly a new one, when we had guests coming. Any good hostess worth her salt will tell you that it’s good to have a few tried-and-trues and not have your main course be something you’ve never made or served before. I never was one to follow the rules.
Towards the end of the cooking time, when hope was quickly fading, I decided that I could always fall back on a quick pasta dish or call out for pizza. But then something magical happened. As it always does with pork shoulder or pork butt.
It all came together.
And thank goodness it did.
It was tender. Succulent. And fall-off-the-bone good. And for something that literally took minutes of prep work.
Paired with root vegetables that I bought from the farmers’ market that very morning, and roasted, it was the perfect Fall meal.
And the recreation of the leftovers the next day? Open-Faced Porchetta Sandwiches with Caramelized Apples. Holy mother of pork, THAT recipe is reason enough to make the first recipe. Like, seriously, OMG good. The second recipe blows the first one out of the water. Treat yourself, and your family, and make it. I swear you’ll be hooked on it too.
P.S. As an update to the story I shared about the wonderful kids on the football team yesterday, after a conversation today with a few parents, I learned even more… The team I told you about was the JV team. When the Varsity team got wind of what they were doing, they wanted to do something too, and at their next game, each of their football helmets sported a pink sticker to show their support, and the cheerleaders, not to be outdone, added pink extensions to their hair. A hairdresser charged the girls $5 to add a pink extension to their hair, and then donated the money to breast cancer research. Such heartwarming gestures from all.
October 14, 2010, Photo #179
This weekend brought about a few firsts for me. One, I’ll share. I used the mens’ restroom for the first time ever. Surprisingly it was spotless, especially as compared to the womens’ restroom. Color me shocked. I think there might actually be a contraband picture of me coming out of the mens’ restroom, but what happens on Girls Night Out … stays there.