Recipe update from December 2007, I’ve switched wild boar for more widely available pork shoulder…a favourite cut of mine as it’s affordable, forgiving and versatile. I’ve lost count of how many pork dishes I’ve made using pork butt.
Greeks eat alot of pork these days which wasn’t always the case. Souvlaki and Gyro are most commonly made of pork and the reasons could be that it was a cheaper meat than lamb or goat or tastier (or both). In a Greek-Orthodox calender, there’s a fast period leading up to Christmas and similar to the fasting period leading up to “Panagias” on August 15th, a feast of pork meat is indulged.
During the Christmas holidays we (Greeks) put more pork on our forks and for New Year’s Day, I wanted a big dinner that delivered on flavour without being complicated. Afterall, I was out with friends celebrating New Year’s Eve and the last thing I (or any cook) would want is to be fussing all day in the kitchen (read sofa time).
Wild boar is huge demand for the New Year’s Eve or Day’s dinner and you could certainly use that here but pork is more readily available to most and pork is fattier than boar – something that’s going to help turn this dish into a juicy piece of meat on your plate. Once again, pork butt (from the shoulder) comes to the rescue. I chose a bone-in shoulder that was sitting in a marinade of orange zest and juice, herbs, honey and vinegar and the result is feast fitting for the beginning of a new year.
Your first indication that this roast pork is going to be good is when you smell the sage, thyme and oregano coming from your kitchen. The second indication is when you uncover the meat and see that the pork shoulder has rendered, a little grey but its going to brown when you add the potoatoes and vegetables and roast uncovered until crisp and a brown colour Maillard would be proud of. Pork butt has fat, renders and protects the meat from drying out. Delicious and tender morsels of meat enter your mouth and you smile as you’ve begun the year with a supreme Sunday dinner.
Roast Pork With Sage, Honey & Thyme
1 pork butt, bone-in
1/3 cup olive oil
the juice of 1 orange
1/4 cup of Greek thyme honey
2 Tbsp. of red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. of mild mustard
2 Tbsp. of fresh sage (or 1 Tbsp. dry)
5-6 springs of fresh thyme
1 tsp. of dried oregano
3 Bay leaves
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 Tbsp. of coarse sea salt
2 Tbsp. fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 potatoes, peeled and quartered
3 medium onions, peeled and quartered
1 stalk of celery, roughly chopped
1 large carrot, roughly chopped
1 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 red pepper, roughly chopped
1 pint of cherry tomatoes (or 3-4 ripe tomatoes, quartered)
1 dried chili pepper
5-6 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 Tbsp. of fresh chopped sage
1 1/2 cups of water
Preheated 400F oven
- Wash then pat-dry your pork and set aside. Using a large container or zip-lock bag, pour in your orange juice, olive oil, vinegar, mustard, sage, thyme, oregano, bay leaves, salt, pepper and garlic. Mix well and and your pork. Seal and marinate for 2-3 hours before roasting.
- Cut up your vegetables and toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper and reserve in a covered bowl.
- After you’ve marinaded your pork, allow the meat to return to room temperature before roasting. Pour the marinating liquid over the meat and season with salt and pepper then place the meat in a roast pan and roast covered for 90 minutes.
- Remove the pork from the oven and uncover and place the potatoes and vegetables around the pork and pour in the hot water and return to the oven for an additional 45 minutes or until meat has browned and the potatoes are crisp. Remove from the oven and spoon some of the pan juices over the pork and allow to rest for 25 minutes before carving. Serve with a Boutari Blue Fox Red.
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