Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Kicking Summer to the Curb
D and I recently hosted a "Kicking Summer to the Curb" party. It didn't work--we've still had too many hot and humid days here in New York. But the food was good, the company excellent.
Inspired by a wonderful dinner party we went to in the country last weekend, we made a slow-roasted pork shoulder, a Puerto Rican dish called "pernil." People raved about it, we loved it, and we had plenty of leftovers. Here's how we made it.
1 pork shoulder (about 10 pounds), with the skin on
15 garlic cloves
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp kosher salt
2 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white wine or champagne vinegar
The first thing you want to do is brine the pork shoulder about two days before you need to eat it. Place the raw pork shoulder in a pot, bag, or bin of water mixed with salt, pepper, sugar, and garlic. I recommend 4 tbsp of each. Submerge the shoulder in the water and keep for 12 to 24 hours in the fridge. This will make it really juicy.
Put the garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper in a mini chopper and chop chop until it forms a kind of paste. Remove from the chopper and place in a bowl. Stir in the olive oil and vinegar.
Take a knife and separate the skin and fat from the meat, leaving it attached so you can fold it back over the meat. Stab the meat with a sharp knife in 1/2 inch incisions, 1 inch deep so that the paste can penetrate the meat. Rub the garlic paste on the meat, and cover the coated meat with the skin again, securing with a skewer so that it doesn't pull away while cooking.
Cover the pork and let marinate for at least three to six hours. Depending on how long you let it sit, and how warm it is out, you might want to consider refrigerating it. Make sure you allow enough time to let it sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes before you roast it.
Preheat the oven to 350 and roast for about 10-12 hours. Some recipes will tell you to roast it at different temperatures for a shorter amount of time, but this length of time worked for us and we had nicely falling-off-the-bone pork, which is how I like it. If you want to get the skin crispy brown at the end, you can put it back in the oven and roast it for about 20-30 minutes at 450.
Let the meat rest on a cutting board for 20 minutes before slicing.
I used a recipe from epicurious, found here.
We served this on a big platter with pico de gallo, corn tortillas, rice, and beans, with a cilantro-lime-garlic viniagrette dressing to drizzle on top. I also froze about three sandwich bags full to make pork tacos at some point in the future. Tonite, we're having leftovers of this pork cooked with some BBQ sauce.