Friday, December 8, 2006

A Better Pork and Beans

It was chilly yesterday! We had sub-zero wind chills for the first time this winter, and let me tell you, I just wasn't prepared for that. I mean, it was just over a week ago that it was 60 degrees and raining. And to top that off, our furnace has not been working at top speed, and our landlord's preference for heating repairmen is not reliable. When they call and say they will first be out before noon... and no one. And then they call and say they'll be out in the afternoon, and then they actually show up at 6:30? Of course, the last time we called them, it took him two weeks to get back to us, so this was progress. It turns out it isn't our imagination, but it needs a part, so the guy will be back "sometime today."

Because of the chilly temps in the house, I decided the oven needed to be going most of the day, not only would it contribute to the sub-par heating, but it was also fill the house with delicious smells. I spent the morning baking cookies, and then in the afternoon, it was a slow-braised pork roast. Perfect to combat the frigid temperatures. Pork Roast with White Beans and Cranberries was almost too simple to think it could be good. First, the roast is seared in a pan with salt, pepper, and fresh sage. After it's browned on all sides, onions are sauteed, and then the pork roast goes back in the pan, along with water, white beans, and more fresh sage. This braises in a 350 oven for 2 hours, and then dried cranberries are added for the last half hour. The smell was worth making this dish alone! The house smelled so good, and I was pleasantly surprised with the results.

The pork was tender, juicy, and full of flavor. The beans with cranberries had a lovely flavor as well, and overall it was a keeper. I also managed to use up some things that needed to be used up. I had some pre-soaked beans lying around, and my fresh sage was starting to look like it needed to be used. My only problem with this recipe was with the liquid in the beans. There was too much of it. The recipe calls for 5 cups, and I actually reduced that to 4, and still had way too much liquid. I ended up taking the roast out of the pan to rest so I could reduce the liquid a bit. It still worked fine, and dinner was delicious and an instant repeat.

Pork Roast with White Beans and Cranberries

This rich dish balances sweet and tart flavors from the cranberries with savory notes from the pork and sage. Garnish each serving with a fresh sage sprig.

1 pound dried navy beans (about 2 cups) (1 cup dried beans= 2 1/2 cups canned or pre-soaked)
1 (5-pound) pork shoulder blade roast, trimmed
1 1/2
teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage, divided
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups sliced shallots (about 8 medium)
5 cups water
3 fresh sage sprigs
1/2 cup 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 350º.

Sprinkle pork roast with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Rub surface of roast with 4 teaspoons minced sage. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add roast to pan; cook for 15 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove roast from pan. Add sliced shallots to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Return roast to pan. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, beans, 5 cups water, and sage sprigs to pan; bring to a simmer. Cover and bake at 350° for 2 hours. Add dried cranberries to pan; bake an additional 30 minutes or until roast is tender. Remove sage sprigs; discard. Remove roast from pan; shred pork with 2 forks. Sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons minced sage. Serve roast with bean mixture.

Yield: 13 servings (serving size: about 3 ounces roast and 1/2 cup beans)


Vanessa said...

I'm going to have to try this one. Pork is always good! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Erika said...

Hi Vanessa, this pork was perfect for a blsutery night, that's for sure.