Sunday, December 27, 2009

top chef experiment: take two (georgia style braised pork shoulder)

My blog related absence this past week or more was due to one thing: Christmas.

I was suffering my way through some first Christmas without Mom depression that had me feeling very sleepy and unmotivated.

This sad state was very helpfully balanced though by an extreme nervousness surrounding the preparation of my first Christmas turkey (first turkey in general, actually.) These nerves had me constantly making lists, revising lists, adding to lists, realizing that the scope of my lists were bordering on insane, editing lists and finally sucking it up and dragging my pile of lists along on numerous shopping trips.

Just because I make lists does not mean that I am actually, in any way, organized. 

The lists only mean that I can actually pin-point what I forgot when I get home and realize that the sinking feeling of having forgotten something major was, in fact, totally accurate.

So yeah, basically there was no way I was pulling myself together to post anything!

Christmas now being safely behind us (with a New Year's roast looming over my head) I can tell you all that my turkey was delicious (is it bad manners to say that about your own food?) That I  somehow managed to still by WAY too much food. And that all of my family members made it through our first holiday minus the centre of our small universe mostly unscathed.

A couple of days before Christmas I tackled my second top chef experiment: Georgia Style Braised Pork Shoulder.

I went with another Kevin Gillespie recipe (let me tell you now that there will be no rhyme nor reason to the dishes I choose to cook other than what local ingredients I have to choose from and what sounds tasty at the time.) 

Kevin's food is really appealing to me in it's flavour profiles and also in the simplicity of the preparations. As a home cook I feel comfortable with his recipes.

Pork Shoulder
1 pork shoulder roast
4 pieces celery diced
3 onions diced
1 very large carrot diced
1 cup yellow mustard
1 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
dash black pepper
8 cups water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Slice pork shoulder into 8 oz. portions.
Season with s&p
2 tbsp. oil in large stock pot.
Heat oil to sear pork shoulder portions until browned.
Transfer to large vessel to collect juices.
Add vegetables to same stock pot and carmelize until golden.
Return pork shoulder (and juices) to pot on top of vegetables.
Add in remaining ingredients.
Mix well.
Place in oven for 2 1/2 hours.
Remove from braising liquid and shred.

Serve with Eli's potato salad (recipe to follow)

I found my shoulder a little dry so I decided to add light coating of a Georgia style (vinegar based) barbecue sauce. It ended up going really beautifully with the flavours of Eli's potato salad and really brought the two components together.

Georgia Style Barbecue Sauce
3 1/2 tbsp. white vinegar
1/4 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp white sugar
2 tsp butter
1/4 of 6 oz. can tomato paste

Combine everything but tomato paste in small pot.
Bring to boil.
Add tomato paste and stir until well blended and thickened.

Eli's Potato Salad
1 lb. russet potatoes
1/2 red onion julienned
1 piece celery small diced
2  hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/8 cup yellow mustard
1/16 cup pickled relish
1 tbsp. cider vinegar
1/8 cup sour cream

Boil potatoes and red onions in salted water until tender.
Shock in ice bath and drain.
In a large bowl mix vegetables and egg..
Mix together mayo, mustard, relish, vinegar and sour cream.
Season dressing with s&p.
Add to salad and mix until potatoes cream together.

Serve with Kevin's pork shoulder on top.

My verdict on the dish: Deliciously tasty. The only potato salad I generally enjoy is my mother's but this one was wonderful and creamy, the mustard adding a nice boost of flavour. 

The pork shoulder was subtly seasoned with the pork flavour really coming through. It had a beautiful texture.

I couldn't stop snacking on it and SeaBass was totally into it. Definitely worth trying.

Next up: Michael Voltaggio's cod with dashi broth.

P.S. If anyone wants to suggest a dish or has tried a dish they'd like to post about on my blog, let me know!


upnorth said...

Jenn, hang in there during this holiday time! I remember how very lonely I felt that Christmas without my mom! Though, we didn't have every holiday together, we could share on the phone! Make her proud, do one of her favorite dishes! Earlene

All Top Chef said...

Jenn - I just spent my 8th Christmas without mom and it still hurts, so I know what you're going through.

I stumbled upon your blog because a recent Google Alert caught your mention of Michael Voltaggio's cod dish. I run a blog called All Top Chef ( and was wondering if you'd be interested in doing little guest posts for us when you cook up something from a Top Chef recipe?

Sarah said...

My husband is making this dish this Friday. Can you tell me how many servings this made? We have 9 adults coming to dinner. Thanks in advance!

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