I’ve been going out to eat a lot lately. I feel like I’m finally starting to figure out this Paris thing, and a big part of that is hanging out with friends at good restaurants… which means that I’m not cooking as much.
There’s this thing that happens when I eat a lot of restaurant food, though, where I start to crave the kind of thing that restaurants don’t tend to serve. Long-simmered, inexpensive cuts of meat. Saucy brown stuff. The kind of food that isn’t pretty on a plate, but sticks to your ribs.
This is what I want today, after several nights of restaurant food. Fork tender pork meets a nutty, buttery, oniony sauce that’s rendered rich and complex by a cajun-style, chestnut-colored roux. Plus pajamas, plus Netflix, plus beer, equals perfect night in.
Smothered Pork Roast Over Rice
Makes about 6 servings.
6-7 pounds boneless pork roast (shoulder or butt)
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup flour
2 large onions, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
4 cups chicken broth
juice of 1/2 lemon
steamed brown rice for serving
chopped parsley for garnish
Generously salt and pepper the pork and set aside for at least 30 minutes, up to overnight in the refrigerator.
Heat the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Dry the pork thoroughly with paper towels. When the oil is very hot, sear the meat on all sides until richly browned, then remove to a plate.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the butter and stir until melted, then stir in the flour to make a roux. Cook, stirring often, for 10-12 minutes, until the roux is a dark peanut butter color.
Add the onions, garlic, thyme, and rosemary and stir until coated with the roux. Stir in the stock and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Return the pork to the Dutch oven and reduce the heat until the liquid is barely simmering.
Cover and simmer for about 3 hours, turning the roast every 30 minutes or so, until the pork falls apart when pressed with a fork.
Remove the pork to a plate, shred with two forks, and reserve. Bring the liquid in the Dutch oven to a rapid simmer and cook until reduced by one-third. Add the lemon juice, taste and adjust for seasoning.
To serve: spoon some brown rice into a bowl, add shredded pork, then ladle some sauce over everything. Sprinkle with parsley. Devour.