29 March 2010

Slow pork roast

Despite the hard work by pork producers to market "the other white meat," little has been done to keep people from cooking it to death.
I started my pork shoulder roast on Tuesday night, rubbing generous amounts of salt, thyme, garlic, pepper and rosemary into the flesh.  I wrapped it tightly and put it in the back of the icebox until Saturday afternoon.   A big roast, about 7 1/2 pounds, with a bone in it.  I let it move towards room temperature for a few hours before I put it into a 400 F oven, surrounded by big chunks of russet potatoes.  A few scoops of duck fat kept everything honest and well lubricated. 
I had to remove the potatoes from the roasting pan after about an hour because they were browning quickly and the roast still had awhile to go.  I cooked the roast until its internal temperature was just under 140 F, and removed it from the oven and covered it with foil; I used the resting time to finish the potatoes in a 9x13 pan, scooping a little of the fat to refresh the potatoes.
By the time we finished our salad, the thermometer in the roast almost read 160 F.  I cut a few slices and the meat was juicier than a greasy hamburger and still had a nice pink hue to it.  I served it with applesauce and a raisin-onion chutney.  The potatoes were crisp on the outside and baked-potato fluffy on the inside.
We drank a stunning 2005 Alsace Grand Cru Mambourg Gewurztraminer and the massive floral nose nearly knocked me over.  Simply swirling the glass made the dining room vernal.  The intensity of the Gewurztraminer bouquet is unmatched, I think, by any other wine. I don't swoon very often, but every time I raised the glass I first pulled it to my nose and inhaled the memory of springtime love, wet plum blossoms splashed against dark bark, old Chinese poets remembering their youth.  And with it, a still-pink, still-juicy pork roast with pork-and-duck-fat roasted potatoes.


  1. Great imagery in your wine description, Patrick--the Chinese poets particularly!

    Gewurz is an underappreciated, misunderstood varietal, I think. Too many oversweet versions have helped ruin its reputation. And then, for quite a while it was being sold as "the wine to drink with Thai food!" which didn't help either. A good, dry Alsatian wine is exactly what you say, incomparably fragrant. And now its coming to me that maybe "gewurz" literally means fragrant in German...?

    Thanks for another dandy post.


  2. Thanks, Brett. Having lived in Thailand for two years, I've never cozied up to the Gewurz/Thai connection - beer is much better with the Thai food I ate! I never, and I mean never, saw wine in Thailand. There are individual Thai dishes that a glass of wine might complement, but nearly every meal I ate contained at least one incendiary dish that would ruin any wine.
    That said, Gewurztraminer is so unique I'm not sure I've found the right times to drink it. Sausage, pork - typical regional foods - but what makes it shine?

  3. Goose springs to mind. Other rich game birds? A roast grouse fragrant with thyme, and sauteed wild mushrooms? In the section of Alsatian recipes in "When French Women Cook," Madeleine Kamman pairs it with a rich chicken dish with cream and truffles, as well as an unctuous recipe for duck or goose liver.

    Gewurz means "spice," not fragrant. My mistake.


  4. So Patrick, what's your favorite Gewurtztraminer? This little wine is my current guilty pleasure.