So forgiving, you can calibrate this roast around your needs instead of the usual other way around. It will hold happily in a low oven (180°F. or so) for an hour.
Evocative, warming, welcoming—this is the dish to share during those dark days of December when things slow for the holidays and the house is filled with candlelight.
Heady with Christmas-cake spices and orange slices turned chewy and tender in syrupy pan juices, this roast began with a Christmas recipe from Scandinavian cook Andreas Viedstadt, author of Kitchen of Light (Artisan 2003). One doesn't think about Scandinavian food as being deeply spiced beyond dill, but don't forget what great sailors and adventurers they were and where their trade routes lay.
Cook to Cook: Why recipes still call for pork loin as a celebration roast I’ll never know. Overpriced and under performing, the typical commercial loin comes off dry and tasteless. Much cheaper shoulder cuts, like the pork in this recipe, have the essential marbling for succulent eating, and no roast is as easy on a cook. Short of blasting (and toughening) them in too hot an oven (keep the temperature at 350°F. or lower), you can’t ruin a shoulder roast.
Start the roast 3 days ahead with the seasonings.
Wine: Try a Chenin Blanc from South Africa with this dish. They tend to be more reliably dry than those from the Loire and have a bit more fruit, yet are not overtly sweet.
- 6- to 7-pound boneless pork shoulder or Boston butt, well marbled
- 1 generous teaspoon each whole cloves, whole allspice, whole coriander seed, and whole black peppercorns, or 1 level teaspoon each of ground spices
- 2-1/2 inches cinnamon stick, broken, or 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup good tasting extra-virgin olive oil
- 1-1/3 cups orange juice
- 1-1/2 cups dry red wine
Roasting and Finishing
- 2 tightly packed tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 thin-skinned orange (like Valencia, Temple and Hamlin), unpeeled and sliced into thin rounds
1. Marinate the meat: Three days before cooking, make deep wide cuts into the meat. Then grind the whole spices (including the cinnamon stick) by putting them in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle, or blend the pre-ground spices. In a medium bowl mix them with the salt, garlic, a 1/2 cup of olive oil, 2/3 cup of the orange juice, and 1/2 cup of the wine. Stuff the mixture into the slits and the meat’s crevices, and rub into the pork on all sides. Tuck the roast into a shallow dish, cover and refrigerate for 3 days, turning 3 or 4 times.
2. Roast the meat: take the meat out of the fridge and preheat the oven to 400°F. Puree together the rosemary, onion, salt and olive oil, and stuff the mixture into the roast’s crevices.
3. Roll up the roast into a loose cylinder. Put it, fat side up, into a large shallow pan (we like a half sheet pan), scrape all the marinade over it, and scatter the orange slices around the pan. Roast for 30 minutes, then pour in the remaining 1 cup of wine.
4. Turn the heat down to 325°F, pour in the rest of the orange juice (2/3 cup), and roast for another 90 minutes, basting the pan juices and the orange slices over the meat several times. If the pan juices threaten to burn, blend in a little water. You want them to end up being syrupy, but not burned.
5. Test the internal temperature of the meat with an instant-reading thermometer. Once it reaches 145°F. to 150°F., reduce the heat to 200°F. for another 30 minutes, or until the meat’s internal temperature is 155°F. Remove the pork from the oven and let it rest in a warm place for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.
6. The pan juices should be syrupy. If needed, set the pan over two burners, skim off a little excess fat, and cook down the juices, stirring with a wood spatula.
7. To serve, thinly slice the pork across the grain, moistening the slices with the pan sauce and bits of roasted orange. Don’t be put off if the meat is a pinkish beige; it is safe and so succulent. Serve the pork hot.