Sunday, October 22, 2006

comfort food

our power didn’t conk out until last sunday morning, so we had just enough time last weekend to believe we were through the woods, buy a fridge full of groceries, and have powerless friends over for dinner saturday night. i thought comfort food would fit the bill considering the snowy, dark, cold circumstances, so i tried cooking a roast. this was my second-ever experiment with pork. you may remember the first time. the food was a huge hit, and even i had to admit it was delicious. i served the roast with a side of sautéed swiss chard with garlic.

a friend with no power had come over to work on a presentation for school (and plug in his laptop), and he walked into the kitchen as i was preparing dinner. i was listening to the classic melancholy sinatra album “in the wee small hours of the morning”, tears STREAMING down my cheeks from the shallots. A bit of an awkward moment until he made the connection between the shallots and my teary eyes . . .

CL’s Pork Roast with White Beans and Cranberries

1 lb. dried navy beans (about 2 cups)
1 5-lb. pork shoulder blade roast, trimmed of fat
1 ½ t. kosher salt, divided
¼ t. ground black pepper
2 t. minced fresh sage, divided (I used dried)
1 ½ cups sliced shallots (about 8 medium)
5 cups water
3 fresh sage sprigs (dried)
½ cups dried cranberries

Sort and wash beans, place in a large dutch oven. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans, cover and let stand 8 hours. Drain.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sprinkle pork roast with salt and pepper. Rub surface of roast with dried sage. Heat a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Lightly coat bottom of pan with cooking spray or oil. Add roast to pan, cooking for 15 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove roast from pan. Add shallots to pan, saute 3 minutes or until tender. Return rast to pan. Add salt, beans, water, and sage to pan, bring to a simmer. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours. Add dried cranberries to pan; bake an additional 30 minutes or until roast is tender. Remove roast from pan, shred pork with 2 forks.

Serve roast with bean mixture.

the leftover shredded pork, mixed in with the leftover beans and a little water made a great next-day stew!

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