Pork Fat Rules
Having company over for dinner is something I haven't done enough of this year. There's not much in the world that I find more gratifying than feeding people. Well, even more gratifying is feeding people while watching the Red Sox win Game 5 of the ALCS. Especially if I'm feeding them slow-cooked pork shoulder, white beans with sage, and sweet potato oven fries. With lots of red wine.
So I bought this giant 7.5 pound pork shoulder at my local butcher on Wednesday with the intention of cooking it last night for my guests, my friends Jackie and Stephanie. The only problem was that it was so large that it wouldn't fit in my slow cooker. I ended up cutting off and freezing about a third of it, but even still, we had more meat than we could finish. I've never made pork shoulder before, and boy, that is a fatty piece of meat. Fatty and delicious. We were remarking last night how odd it is that pigs get fat in their shoulders. Not that I'm complaining - as Emeril would say, pork fat rules.
I don't really have recipes for what I made; I was just winging it left and right. Fortunately everything turned out great. Here's the play-by-play:
For the pork shoulder, the night before I wanted to cook it, I roasted 3 big bulbs of garlic for a half hour in a 400-degree oven, then peeled it and put it in a blender with about 2 T each of salt, coriander, and dried rosemary; 1 T each of mustard powder and dried thyme; and about a teaspoon of ground black pepper. After blending it into a paste, I rubbed it all over the pork and let it sit in the fridge overnight. Before I went to class the next morning, I threw it in the slow cooker with just a bit of water in the bottom (1/4 c. maybe) and let it go about 8 hours on low.
For the white beans, I just soaked a half-pound of them overnight, then cooked them with 3 cups of water, a few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, and about a tablespoon of chopped fresh sage.
For the sweet potato oven fries, I peeled 3 yams and then cut them into french-fry-sized pieces. I tossed them in a bowl with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then baked them in a 500-degree oven for 30 minutes. When I served them, I sprinkled some fresh thyme on top.