Thursday, December 20, 2012


What is more festive than a roast?  Roast anything?  A roast looks impressive, makes the house smell amazing, tastes delicious, and is soooo easy!

This year we are on a serious budget, but I still like to do something special for Christmas dinner.  I decided on a juicy and flavorful roast pork; very affordable pork shoulder to be exact.  Pork shoulder has a good amount of fat, which = flavor; and a bone in the middle which = more flavor!  By slow roasting the pork, the fat just melts into the meat, making for juicy, tender, yumminess.  I put it on a platter surrounded by colorful root veggies and it looks oh, so festive!  Nobody would ever guess that this was budget friendly meal…and really, nobody needs to know!

Here’s what you do.


Prepare the rub by adding, to a small bowl the seasoned salt, 1 tsp. of the fresh rosemary, dry mustard, sweet paprika, Chinese 5 spice, black pepper, and garlic powder.


My pork had a thick skin on the fat cap; I removed it, but not the fat!


 Rub the seasoning all over the pork.  

If you do this the night before and leave the seasoned pork in the fridge overnight your pork will be ultra-flavorful.  If you do season the pork right before cooking, it will still be very tasty.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.


Get a skillet really hot.  Add a little canola oil and brown the pork on all sides, about 3 minutes a side.   

See the beautiful color?


Place the browned pork fat side up in a roaster.  Sprinkle another tablespoon of chopped rosemary over the top of the fat.  The flavor will melt down into the pork as it cooks.

Put the roast into the oven.

While the pork is roasting get the veggies prepared.


Slice the onion into wedges.


The carrots and parsnips are cut the same size, about 1 ½ inches.


This is a rutabaga for those who weren't sure.

Peel and cut it into about 1 inch cubes.

Slice the apple, but don’t bother peeling it.

Leave the rosemary sprigs whole.   

The sweet and tart flavor of cranberries compliments both the veggies and the pork, so if you have them go ahead and throw a handful in. 

Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.

After the pork has been in the oven for an hour, remove it.   

Add the veggies, white wine and stock to the pan.  

Put the pan back into the oven for another 1 ½ to 2 hours.  Until an instant read thermometer reads 170 degrees.   

Remove the pork to a platter, cover it with foil and allow it to rest for about 15 minutes before slicing.
Remove the veggies and keep them warm while you make the gravy.


These are the pan juices.  See all that fat on the top, skim that off, using a spoon.  If you like, you can serve the pan juices as is.



Or you can thicken it with a roux.   

Use 1 or 2 tablespoons of the fat you skimmed off.  Whisk it with 2 or 3 tablespoons of flour (depending how thick you like your gravy) and cook it for about 2 minutes to remove the raw flour taste.


Now whisk the pan juices into the roux.  Bring it to a boil, and whisk for a couple of minutes.  

That’s it!  Just keep it warm until service.

I like to arrange the roast pork on a platter, surrounded by the root vegetables.

This will be my last post until after Christmas, so I would just like to tell you Merry Christmas! Frohe Weihnachten! Feliz Navidad! Joyeux Noel! Buon Natale!  (I didn’t mean to leave anyone out, that’s just all that I know)

Serves 6 adults

For the Pork

1              tsp.        Seasoned salt
1 Tbsp. +  1 tsp.       Fresh Rosemary, finely chopped (divided)
¾             tsp.        Dry mustard
½             tsp.        Sweet paprika
½             tsp.        Chinese 5 spice
½             tsp.        Black pepper
¼             tsp.        Garlic powder
5               lbs.        Pork shoulder roast (aka picnic)
1               Tbsp.      Canola oil
      1 ½           cup         Dry white wine
1               cup         Chicken or beef stock, low sodium

For the veggies

1                           Medium onion, sliced into wedges
6                           Carrots, peeled and cut into about 1 ½ inch pieces
3                           Parsnips, peeled and cut into about 1 ½ inch pieces
1                           Small rutabaga, peeled and cut into about 1 inch cubes
1                           Apple, cored and sliced into wedges
1/2           cup        Dried cranberries (optional)
1              Tbsp.      Olive oil
½             tsp.       Salt
¼             tsp.       Pepper
4              sprigs    Fresh rosemary

For the Gravy

1 ½          Tbsp.     Pork fat (that you skimmed from the top of the pan juices)
2              Tbsp.     Flour
                          Pan juices from the roast

 1.        In a small bowl make a rub by combining the seasoned salt, 1 tsp. of the finely chopped fresh rosemary, dry mustard, sweet paprika, Chinese 5 spice, black pepper, and garlic powder.
 2.       If there is a thick skin on the fat cap of the pork, remove the skin, but not the fat (fat equals flavor).
 3.       Rub the seasoning on all sides of the pork.  For maximum flavor do this the night before and leave the seasoned pork overnight in the refrigerator.  If you do this step right before cooking, it will still be tasty.
 4.       Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. 
 5.       Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  When the skillet is hot, add the 1 tablespoon of canola oil to the pan.  Brown the pork on all sides; for about 3 minutes on each side.
 6.       Put the browned pork roast fat side up, in a roaster.  Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of chopped rosemary over the fat.
 7.       While the pork is roasting toss the veggies, apples and dried cranberries (optional) with olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and the rosemary sprigs.
 8.       After the pork has roasted for 1 hour, remove it from the oven and pour the white wine, and the stock into the bottom of the roasting pan.  Distribute the veggies around the bottom of the pan.  Put the pan back into the oven and roast for about another 1 ½ to 2 hours.  Until an instant read thermometer reads 170 degrees. 
 9.       Remove the roast to a platter or cutting board, and cover with foil to rest for 15 minutes or so before slicing.
 10.    Remove the veggies, and keep them warm.
 11.    Use a spoon to skim the fat from the top of the pan juices from the roast.  Reserve a couple of tablespoons of the fat. 
 12.   In a medium pan or skillet, over medium heat whisk the 1 ½ tablespoons of pork fat with 2 tablespoons of flour.  Whisk and cook for about 2 minutes. *This makes for a thin gravy, for a thicker gravy add 3 tablespoons of fat and 3 or 4 tablespoons of flour.
 13.   Whisk in the pan juices and bring to a boil, whisk and for a couple of minutes.  Then keep warm until service.
14.  Arrange the roasted vegetables around the perimeter of a platter, put the pork slices in the middle of the platter, and serve with the gravy on the side.

 **Note.  This Festive Roast Pork with Root Vegetables can be made in a slow cooker, but please do not skip the browning of the meat.

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  1. I can smell this recipe from here! Wow, what a perfect looking roast! I am absolutely going to try this recipe out, and i love that you used a variety of root veggies!

  2. Yum!! I love the apple in with the veggies. I hope you had a great holiday and new year :)