Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pig Heaven.

Finally tried the pork bbq sandwich down at Fattboyz Grillin and it did not disappoint. I piled on that homemade cole slaw that Reed makes; each bite was a mouthful of delicious goodness. If you like bbq, but haven’t tried out anything on his menu yet, well that’s your big loss, and more for the rest of us.

Americans eat a lot of pork products: fresh pork meat such as chops, tenderloin and ribs, or processed or cured: ham, bacon and sausage.

Thank the Chinese for your love of pork; they domesticated the animal around 5000 BC. Poor creature, it provides so much to us, and yet gets little respect for the most part. Being called a pig is an insult; a demeaning term used against people who are overweight, or to indicate that someone is unclean. In some religions, the pig is deemed the equivalent of a demon spawn from hell.

Pigs are cleaner animals than you might think. Sure they roll around in the mud; they don’t have sweat glands, so coat themselves in mud to keep cool in hot weather. You would do the same if push came to shove on the issue. The sows (females) are good mothers to their piglets; they are smart, and can form attachments with their human handlers. Medically, a close relationship has been established between pigs and humans; and some of their parts can be used as transplants in humans. So, be nice to pigs, one might save your life one day.

That being said, they are still a part of human consumption, and being the carnivore that I am, I enjoy a good piece of pork now and then. Pork meat can be bland, so you need to do a little work to get the flavor infused into it. Brining (a salt water bath) and marinating are two ways; also slow cooking gives the meat time to absorb flavors from other ingredients. So, whether you’re roasting, smoking, broiling, frying or whatever technique you like to use; go slow for the best tasting results.

Pork Roast with Caramelized Onions and Marsala Sauce


3 lb boneless pork loin roast
2 Tbsp olive oil
Marsala wine: ½ cup plus 2 Tbsp
2 large onions, slivered
¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup beef broth
1 cup heavy whipping cream
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves (if unavailable, use ½ Tbsp dry leaves)

Soak the pork roast in a brine (salt and water solution) for four hours; remove and pat dry. This will help tenderize the meat, and allow it to soak in flavors more easily.

In a medium skillet, on high heat, brown all sides of the roast in the olive oil; remove the roast to a 4 qt crock pot, set on low. In the same skillet, deglaze pan with 2 Tbsp of Marsala wine; add the onions and cook till partially softened. Reduce heat to low, mix in brown sugar; cover and let cook for additional 10 minutes.

Add the onions, ½ cup wine and broth to the crock pot; cover and let cook for 6 hours. Remove roast, set heat to high; add in cream, black pepper and thyme and let cook for 15 minutes. Serve sauce over sliced pork roast.

Makes 8-10 servings.

Mary Cokenour

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