Saturday, 27 September 2014

German Inspired Pork Roast Dinner

We're coming up to October already, and that makes me think of Oktoberfest and beer and sausage and schnitzel and all things like that. Fun! But even better, Mother Nature has her Autumn on, and that spells flavour! Not to mention the glorious beauty on the landscape.  In my Farm Share basket this week, I was given red potatoes, leeks, purple cabbage, celery root and a bag of Macintosh red apples. And since I'm in the mood for all things German, let's go ahead and use them all in a German fusion dinner. I had a nice pork roast in the freezer, so we'll use that as our main. So if you want to stay with me for this one, we're making Honey Dijon glazed pork roast with a port reduction, home made apple sauce, braised purple cabbage with leeks and caraway seed and red potato-celery root mashed.

Now normally I make a shopping list of everything you'll need for a recipe, but I'm going to break it down to each component of this meal, and you'll be in charge of making your master list because I don't want to miss anything - or worse, have you decide that this is too much trouble. Because it isn't. It's an easy and delicious meal to make. And special too, so you can really show off with this one!

For the applesauce you'll need:
3 apples, peeled and cut into small chunks
3/4 cup of water
a splash of apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup of sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Throw it all in a saucepan and bring it up to a boil. Reduce heat and cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove the lid and keep simmering until all the liquid has dissolved. Set aside for dinner time.

For the Pork Roast:
Slather it with Honey Dijon mustard. Or mix a tablespoon of Dijon and a teaspoon of honey and use that.
Fresh or dried rosemary to season (about 1/2 of dried or a teaspoon of chopped fresh)
1/2 tsp of dried thyme or 1 sprig of fresh, peeled off the stem
Course salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 and roast for 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven, reduce the heat to 325 degrees and add a cup of water to the roast pan and put it back in the oven and roast for 35 minutes per pound. Remove from oven. And we'll come back to this. Keep an eye on it and add more water if need be so your honey mustard doesn't scorch and ruin the whole meal.

For the cabbage braise:
4 leeks, thoroughly rinsed and just use the white and light green parts, sliced
1/2 head of sliced purple cabbage
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp caraway seed
a splash of apple cider vinegar
1 cup of vegetable or chicken broth
You could also add some apples to this, but I made the applesauce, so no need since we're not running an apple orchard here.
This takes about an hour, so plan it around when your roast will be ready. Use a heavy pot or Dutch Oven for this.
Saute the leeks in a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper, just until they're soft and not browned. Add the splash of apple cider vinegar, the caraway and the sliced cabbage and cover the pot. Let it simmer for about 8 minutes until the cabbage wilts.
Add the broth and cover and let it simmer for about an hour until the cabbage softens. Just before you serve, take the lid off and let the liquid evaporate.

For the potatoes:
1 peeled and chopped into 1 inch chunks celery root
4 red potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup of cream or half and half.
 Add it gradually and don't use all if your mash is tight enough. Or use more butter and cream if you're cooking for a gang. Double the potatoes and celery root.
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon of horseradish
Boil the potatoes and celery root in the same pot in salted water for about 20 minutes until they're soft and easily pierced with a fork. Drain and add the butter, cream and salt and pepper and horseradish. Mash with a mixer or a potato masher. Keep warm.

For the Port reduction:
Remove the roast from the pan and let it rest. Deglaze the pan on the stovetop with about 1/2 cup of port or red or white wine. Let it reduce by half and add 2 cups of chicken or beef broth. Whisk it all around at a hard boil for a few minutes and reduce the heat to medium. Now we're going to make a slurry which is just 1/2 cup of warm water and 2 tablespoons of flour. Stir the flour into the water with a fork so you have no lumps. And now whisk your slurry into the gravy a bit at a time and stop when you decide it's thick enough. So let it simmer for a minute after adding each ration and see where you are after it comes up to the boil. Get it? Hard to explain by typing. But you'll see how it thickens after each addition of slurry.

Now to plate:
Put the cabbage on a platter and slice and lay your roast on top of that and put your potato mash on the other half of the plate. Serve with the applesauce and gravy on the side.

Mother Nature can be one cruel and unrelenting bitch in the middle of January, but in October at least, we can't help but celebrate her! Enjoy the fall my friends!

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