Cider & Dark-Lager-Braised Pork Pot Roast

Automne 2016
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food and drink

BY: Christopher St. Onge

The combination of pork, apple cider and dark lager is a delicious one. This long-cooked pot roast’s gravy is further enriched with onions that eventually break down, turning the sauce velvety and sweetening it further. Avoid purchasing vac-packed pork for this recipe as it tends to throw off a lot of diluting moisture while cooking.

4 lbs (2 kg) tied, boneless, skinless pork shoulder roast
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
2 onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup (250 mL) apple cider
¼ cup (60 mL) apple cider vinegar
1½ cups (375 mL) dark lager, divided
3 whole cloves
1 sprig sage, 5 to 6 leaves
1 sprig thyme, plus 2 tsp (10 mL) finely chopped
6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into thirds
2 tbsp (30 mL) cornstarch

1 Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C).

2 Season roast generously with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat. Once foaming, add roast and brown on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes total. Remove to a plate.

3 Reduce heat to medium, add onions to pot and cook until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in chopped garlic and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Pour in the apple cider, apple cider vinegar and 1 cup (250 mL) of the lager; stir in cloves. Nestle roast into pot, tuck in sage and thyme sprig; bring to a simmer, cover and place in preheated oven. Cook for 1½ hours, tuck carrots around roast and into liquid, cover and return to oven for another 1½ hours.

4 Remove carrots to a bowl; cover and set aside. Remove pork to a board and tent with foil to keep warm. Skim as much fat as possible from braising liquid and discard.

5 Whisk together remaining ½ cup (125 mL) lager with the cornstarch. Bring braising liquid to a boil over medium heat and, whisking constantly, add lager mixture in a slow and steady stream. Boil for 5 minutes to burn off the bitterness of the alcohol; stir in chopped thyme.

6 To serve, remove string from roast and carve into ½-inch-thick (1-cm) slices. Serve in shallow bowls with the carrots, Spinach Späetzle (recipe follows) and sauce.

Serves 6

SPINACH SPÄETZLE

I like to make these späetzle a little larger than is traditional, mostly because the larger size stands up well to being crisped. If you prefer, you can make these finer by adding batter to a colander set over the pot of boiling water and pushing batter through the holes—don’t cook them quite as long in the frying pan though.

½ cup (125 mL) packed, thawed and drained frozen spinach
¾ cup (175 mL) whole milk
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1 large egg
¼ cup (60 mL) unsalted butter, divided
1¾ cups (425 mL) flour
Pinch ground nutmeg
3 oz (90 g) thinly sliced, chopped Westphalian ham or speck

1 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

2 In a blender, combine spinach, milk, salt, egg and 2 tbsp (30 mL) melted butter. Combine flour and nutmeg in a medium bowl and pour spinach mixture over; stir until smooth. Turn out into a large, heavy-duty resealable plastic bag or piping bag fitted with a ½-inch (1-cm) tip; if using the plastic bag, cut a ½-inch (1-cm) opening.

3 Position bag over water and squeeze dough out, snipping or cutting every ½ inch (1 cm) or so to form small dumplings. Boil for 5 to 7 minutes or until swollen, tender and floating; drain (späetzle may be made to this point and kept at room temperature for 2 hours).

4 When ready to serve, heat remaining 2 tbsp (30 mL) butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. When butter is foaming, add späetzle and fry, undisturbed, until a golden crust forms on undersides, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle ham into pan, stir, and continue to fry for another 2 minutes or so until ham just begins to crisp.

Serves 6

What to Serve