I've been craving roasted and braised food lately. Perhaps it's the gray, rainy sky and short light of winter. Nothing seems to be more satisfying when it's gloomy than a warm, rich roast with root vegetables. Here's last nights' dinner.
German-Style Braised Pork
2 slices thick-cut bacon
3 lb bone-in pork shoulder roast
Salt and Pepper
2 tbsp bacon fat, lard or canola oil
2 small parsnips, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
1 large or 2 medium turnips, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1" chunks
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs of thyme
1 tbsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp wine vinegar
Heat oven to 300F.
Thinly slice the garlic cloves lengthwise. Slice the bacon cross-wise into 1/2" strips. Using a paring knife, pierce the pork roast randomly and insert a slice or garlic or piece of bacon. (Studding pieces of bacon or salt pork in a roast is called larding.) Season the pork generously with salt and pepper.
Place a small roasting pan or flame-proof casserole pan onto a burner. Heat over medium heat. Add lard. When the lard is hot but not quite smoking add the pork roast and brown on all sides. This should take about 20 minutes.
After the meat is completely browned, push it to one side of the pan and add the vegetables. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have begun to soften - about 15 minutes. Add the wine, stir and scrape the bottom of the pan gently to loosen any caramelized bit. Increase the heat slightly and simmer until the wine is reduced by about half - 2 to 3 minutes. Add the stock, bay leaves and thyme. Use a set of tongs to lift the roast and place it on top of the vegetables.
Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Place in the preheated oven and roast until fork tender - about 2 1/2 hours.
Transfer the pork to a platter and use a fork to pull chunks away from the bone. Use a slotted spoon to arrange the vegetables around the chunks of pork. Discard bay leaves and thyme sprigs.
Bring the roasting pan with the juices to a boil over high heat. Mix the arrowroot powder with the water in a small bowl. Whisk the arrowroot mixture into the boiling juices and cook until sauce has thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and check the sauce for salt and pepper. Serve alongside the roast.