This is a recipe that allows time and low heat to work their magic. I like to rub the roast with the seasoning and let it cure for a day before cooking. At Gramercy, as a way to use the whole hog, we slow-roast bone-in pork shoulders.
At home, it's just as easy to generate that intense flavor with a smaller roast. Make sure to ask your butcher for high-quality, locally raised pork.
One 5-pound bone-in pork roast
6 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cups chopped savoy cabbage
6 cups chopped red cabbage
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
Bacon Broth (recipe follows)
Corn Bread (recipe follows)
In a large bowl, combine the pork, 4 of the garlic cloves, and the thyme, season with salt and pepper, and rub the mixture all over the pork. Cover the meat tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to a day.
Preheat the oven to 250°F. Unwrap the pork and discard the garlic. Put the meat in a roasting pan and cook in the oven until the meat's internal temperature reaches about 190°F, about 5 hours. Let the meat cool a little, then pull it into large pieces.
Meanwhile, about 30 minutes before the pork is ready, make the sautéed cabbage. In a large pot, heat the oil over high heat. Add the savoy and red cabbages and the remaining 2 garlic cloves, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until the edges of the cabbage are browned, about 5 minutes.
Add about a cup of water and continue to cook until the cabbage is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes more. Stir in the vinegar and Aleppo pepper. The cabbage should have a slight vinegary bite and a little heat; add more vinegar and/or Aleppo pepper if needed. Serve the pork in bowls with the cabbage, bacon broth, and corn bread.
Makes about 4 cups
This bacon broth is perfect with the slow-roasted pork, but it can make just about any vegetable taste better; it's light and aromatic, not at all fatty. Whether you use it as a stock for cooking or as the base of a soup studded with your favorite fresh vegetables, it can be handy almost every day. We make the broth from our own smoked bacon. Ask your butcher for high-quality bacon or order it online from heritagefoodsusa.com.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound slab bacon, diced
1 onion, chopped
2 shallots, sliced
5 garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 head cabbage, cored and sliced
1 carrot, chopped
1 sweet firm apple, such as Honeycrisp, peeled, cored, and quartered
1 sprig thyme
8 cups Chicken Broth
Salt and pepper
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the bacon, onion, shallots, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the onions are softened, about 10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the cabbage and carrot, and cook until the vegetables are wilted, about 3 minutes more.
Drain any excess fat, then add the apple, thyme, and broth. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 45 minutes.
Pass the broth through a finemesh strainer into a container and season with salt and pepper. Once cooled, the broth will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for about 5 days; it can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Makes 20 mini muffins
This recipe makes wonderfully moist corn bread if you bake it for about 12 minutes, but ever since our former sous chef Kyle Knall, from Birmingham, Alabama, inspired us to use the corn bread as a crunchy crouton with our slow-roasted pork, we bake it longer so you can sop up the broth without it falling apart. We bake the corn bread in wide flat molds, but a mini-muffin pan works, too.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup medium-ground cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 large egg
1/2 cup whole milk
Preheat the oven to 350°F, with a rack in the middle position. Butter a mini-muffin pan (20 "holes").
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, work the butter and sugar together with the back of a wooden spoon until smooth. Work in the honey and maple syrup, then stir in the egg until completely combined. Gently stir in the dry ingredients and milk, alternating the two, with 3 additions of the dry ingredients and 2 of the milk. Don't overmix the batter; lumps are okay.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the corn bread is deep golden brown and slightly hard, about 20 minutes.
Unmold onto a wire rack and let cool slightly. Once cool, the corn bread will keep, tightly covered, for up to 4 days.
The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook by Michael Anthony and Dorothy Kalins, Clarkson Potter, 2013.
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