Saturday, November 9, 2013

Comfort food. Spice Rubbed Pork Roast

What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality. – Plutarch 

Yes, I sliced it with the grain. I used a blade roast. It was hard to figure out.
It was still tender, moist and wonderful.

This time change has been rubbing me the wrong way. Ever since we set out clocks back one hour last Sunday morning I’ve been waking up at an ungodly time. The other day it was 3:45am. For reference I usually wake a few minutes before 6.

But this morning – success! I first woke at 4:30am, but (unlike the rest of this week) was able to convince my body to sleep for an extra hour. Hopefully that is the start of settling into this time change business.

I can’t believe how fast the time is flying by. As the days shorten our opportunities for getting outside and staying active lessen. Winter slothfulness slowly starts to settle in. The new reality...

There’s a lot of “new reality” for me to deal with besides the time change and resulting early darkness. It’s also been one month since I said farewell to my best buddy, our Bouvier, Henry. If you remember, the plan was for him to keep me company while my spouse is away at college. Damned cancer – I hate you.

Massage the wet rub into the meat and then let sit in the
refrigerator. The longer it sits, the more flavour you'll have.
I have a lot of unwelcome realities to accept. But, to paraphrase Plutarch, our reality is shaped in great part by how we deal with life. My plan is to shape a better, albeit different than expected, reality for myself. We’ll see how that goes.

How we feel about life is truly over 50% due to our way of dealing with things. Life at times can cause us stress and sadness, but the degree of its severity is always self-imposed.

November can be a wet, cloudy, chilly and depressing bout that lasts 30 days, or it can be viewed as the start to one of my favourite seasons. I don’t mean winter or Christmas. I’m talking about comfort food season. 

Yes, warm days are past. But that means the kitchen is now bearable when the oven is on. And since there isn’t much to do outside because of the weather, there’s the opportunity to spend more of that time inside, making comfort food.

One of the signatures of comfort food is roast. If you’re afraid of roasting, go buy an instant read thermometer. For a few dollars you can guarantee to never overcook another chunk of meat. Seriously, go buy one. You’ll use it 12 months of the year.

Since I was somewhat trapped inside the day I made this (I believe it was cold and raining) I had time on my hands. This recipe uses a “wet rub” – a thick paste to impart flavour. It takes minutes to mix together, but should be applied to the roast for at least a few hours for real benefit. You could even do it for 24 hours.

Words for the wise: always allow your roast (pork, beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, duck...) sit for a few minutes before you cut it up. It lets the juices settle back into the mea. IF not, you run the risk of making your meat drier than it needs to be.

This roast was tender, moist and flavourful. There’s really little that can help drive away the November blues more than bringing a perfectly browned and juicy chunk of meat to the table. 

The smell while it’s in the oven is amazing, and there’s a bonus. You can roast all your vegetables at the same time. Who doesn’t love oven-roasted veggies?

Spice Rubbed Pork Roast
Prep: 10 min  |  Sit: 3 hrs  |  Roast 2 hrs  |  Serves 4-6
2-1/2 to 3 lb pork roast
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin, ground
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp dried cilantro
1 tsp dried mustard powder
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp salt

Choose a roast cut that has some marbled fat through it. You could use loin roast, but they tend to dry out quickly. The fat helps tenderize the meat as it roasts.

Mix the wet rub ingredients together in a bowl. Massage into the meat. Place in a roasting pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours, or for a whole day. Longer is better.

When ready to roast, preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the plastic and roast for 2 hours, or until internal temp reaches 160°. (This is the new USFDA approved internal temperature for pork. It used to be 170°.)

Let the roast sit for 10 minutes for the juices to redistribute through the meat.

Slice and serve!


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