After four days without power due to the bizarre pre-Halloween snowstorm, and a freezer full of defrosted meats, my kitchen table rendered a carnivore’s delight this past week.
My larder was more laden than usual since I had stocked up before the storm, expecting a lovely weekend with the family spent by the fire. Instead, we spent late Saturday afternoon fleeing a darkened home in a blizzard, as trees began crashing down all around us.
And so, a week early, I celebrated at home what starts today in Manhattan: NYC Meat Week, planned to help connect farmers to the people who are eating their meat and to “celebrate the farmers, markets and chefs who bring sustainable meat to our tables,” according to the event website.
I've already made a connection to one local farmer, Pound Ridge native John Ulbaldo and have been a fan of his ethically raised meat from the first bite. His chicken—cooked in a covered pot—made the menu one night after electricity was restored, followed the next evening by a center-cut, bone-in pork loin from the Stew Leonard’s Naked line of meats. Two breakfasts included an omelette filled with Italian sweet sausage, roasted garlic, and sauteed kale.
But the roasted pork was the star of the week. I had apple cider in the house, as well as some rapidly-defrosting chicken stock. Apples were plentiful, and my pantry was stocked with bags of dried cranberries and pistachios. I slow-roasted the pork with garlic, sage and apples, while preparing a reduced sauce of cider, chicken stock, spices, cranberries and pistachios. I have provided the recipe below.
Slow-cooking the pork keeps it juicy and tender. And following the Department of Agriculture’s recently revised guideline for safely cooking pork to a temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit (with a 3 minute rest period) will guarantee a non-leathery, pink roast.
Sustainable meat seems to be topic du jour these days. The New York Times Dining section featured an article entitled “The Lost Art of Buying From a Butcher” last Wednesday. And the newspaper’s columnist, Mark Bittman, has written two articles regarding sustainable farming and meat in the past few weeks —“Local Food: No Elitist Plot” and “Hey Chef, Get with the Program.”
Events will include tastings, cooking and butchery demonstrations, panel discussions, a film regarding grass-fed beef, and farm tours of the in Pocantico Hills. A relief fund will also be presented to local farms affected by the flooding resulting from Hurricane Irene. Note that several of the tastings and demonstrations are free to the public.
Looking ahead to the meat-centric holiday of Thanksgiving, check out the Patch article "" to help you on your turkey quest here in Northern Westchester.
Roast Pork with Apple, Pistachio & Cranberry
- 5-6 lb. bone-in center cut pork loin roast (fyi - my 5+lb bone-in roast provided 7 chop portions)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced (or 2 teaspoons dried sage)
- kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 apples (I used Macoun), peeled, cored & diced into 1 inch dice
- 1 medium red onion, sliced thin lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cups apple cider, or cranberry-apple cider
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth or stock
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 inch knob peeled ginger
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional
- 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Brush or rub 2 tablespoons olive oil all over the pork roast. Coat the exterior with the minced garlic and sage, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper —don’t be stingy with the salt. Place apple dice and 1 cup of the apple cider in cast iron skillet or roasting pan. Place the roast on top of the apples. Roast for 30 minutes, then reduce temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit; continue roasting for an additional 1-1 1/2 hours, checking on the temperature after 1 hour.
While the pork is roasting, you can make the accompanying sauce. Heat a dutch oven or large, deep saute pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Swirl to coat the pan. Add the sliced red onion. Cook for about 2-3 minutes over medium to medium-high heat, stirring now and then to make sure they get evenly cooked.
When the onions begin to ever-so-slightly brown, add 3 cups of apple cider, the chicken broth, allspice, cinnamon sticks, bay leaf, ginger, and cranberries. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Allow to lightly boil and reduce until reduced by half, about 30 minutes. If the sauce reduces too much, feel free to add more chicken broth or cider.
Lower the temperature until the roast is finished cooking; then raise temperature to a simmer and add the pistachios; swirl in 2 tablespoons of butter (this is optional but really puts the sauce over the top!) Taste for seasoning—I added some freshly ground pepper but didn’t feel salt was necessary.
The roast can be removed from the oven when it reaches an internal temperature of 145 (recommended by the Department of Agriculture as a safe cooking temperature). Allow to rest, covered with foil, for 5-10 minutes, in order to guarantee all those lovely juices to remain intact. The internal temperature will raise another 5-10 degrees during the resting time. After resting, slice chop portions between the bones and place on a platter.
Serve the sauce in a bowl alongside the pork or serve some drizzled over the pork, with the remaining sauce on the side. Good accompaniments would be creamy polenta, rice pilaf, or mashed potatoes; sauteed broccoli rabe or swiss chard with garlic.