Monday, December 10, 2007

Cocoa and spice slow-roasted pork with onions

Photo: Kana Okada
Recipe: Michael Chiarello & Bon Appetit

This needs a long, lazy six-hour roasting, so enjoy the aromas as you get ready for the party.

Servings: Makes 8 servings

Usually I can tell just by the description how a dish will turn out and this one proved me right once again. This is a very easy to prepare main course that would be great for company and you could serve it as a holiday alternative to Turkey or Roast Beef. The roast has a great spice and smoke component and though the recipe in Bon Appetit pairs this with a domestic Sangiovese, I think that breaking out a Cote du Rhone or pulling out all the stops with a Chateauneuf du Pape ( a 2003 Vieux Telegraphe would be nice ) would make this a truly special meal to remember.


Spice Rub:

1/2 tablespoon whole white peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
2 tablespoons plus 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt (preferably gray crystals)
1 tablespoon plus 2 1/4 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Pork and Onions:
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 3/4 to 4 pounds onions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 1/2 cups water
1 5-pound pork shoulder butt with bone

For spice rub:
Stir peppercorns and coriander in small skillet over medium heat until spices are darker in color, about 5 minutes. Transfer to spice grinder; grind finely. Place in small bowl; mix in remaining ingredients. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.

For pork and onions:
Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onions and sage; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté 10 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups water; cover and cook until onions are soft, about 15 minutes. Uncover; continue to cook until onions are beginning to brown and water has evaporated, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300°F. Sprinkle spice rub on large sheet of foil. Roll pork in rub, pressing to coat. Set pork on rack in large roasting pan. Top pork with 1/3 of onions; scatter remaining onions around pork in pan.

Roast pork until very tender and thermometer inserted into center registers 160°F, stirring onions in pan occasionally, about 6 hours. Transfer pork to platter. Season onions in pan with salt and pepper; spoon around pork.