Tag Archives: roasting

Pork Roast with Apples and Onions

This lovely post on the P-Dub’s site caused some swift action in my kitchen. I wasn’t going to put this on my list of recipes-to-make and let it sit around for months, waiting its turn. I had to make it immediately. So I bought the ingredients and bellowed “Haruzziah!”

All Sunday afternoon it cooked away in the oven, infusing our apartment with the most delectable smells. And the flavors! Onions cooked to sweetness, tart apples, rich, tender pork with its flavor deepened by the beef stock . . . aaaah!

Plus, this is one of those meals that keeps excellently in the fridge and just gets better with time. Granted that the leftovers resemble a pile of brown who-knows-what, but once you take a bite, you won’t be complaining!


( Serves 8 )

3 TBS olive oil
1 3-4 lb pork shoulder roast (pork butt)
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 cups apple juice
1 cup beef stock
3 apples
3 onions
2 bay leaves

As you can see, I went ahead and sliced the onion up for the ingredients picture. I was in maximum efficiency mode. Stomachs were growling, hunger was churning.

Core the apples and cut them into wedges.

No need to peel ’em!

Sauté the onions in a large Dutch oven until brown.

I should note that this is optional—you can also just add them raw to the roast. Set the onions aside.

Sprinkle the meat all over with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in the Dutch oven, and when hot, sear the pork roast on all sides, sprinkling it liberally with more salt and pepper as it cooks.

I chose to take care of this in the cast iron skillet as the onions cooked in the Dutch oven, once again in the interest of time.

But ideally you’ll sear it in the same pot it’s going to slow-cook in, so that all the flavor is contained.

Looking brown and glorious!

At this point it became apparent that with the size of the hunk of pork and the bounty of apples and onions, the green Dutch oven was not going to cut it. So we made a move that is now becoming strangely familiar . . .

. . . and divided it into 2 Dutch ovens. Double the ovens, double the fun.

In retrospect, I think everything could have fit it the black cast iron Dutch oven, which may be slightly bigger. But no harm done either way! The result was delicious pork, and I have no regrets.

Lower the heat, and add the apple juice, apple slices, onions, beef stock and bay leaves.

Try and make sure the meat is as submerged as possible., then cover and either simmer it on the stove or place it in the oven at 300 F for 3 hours.

You can use this time to crochet, watch an episode of 30 Rock, do some Pilates, or work on your photo album. Or lie in a salivating stupor on the couch, awaiting the moment when the pork will be yours. Though I don’t recommend that last option–it could make those 3 hours feel like an eternity. Here, I’ll make up an annoying poem:

Busy hands make time go fast
so do some work and have a blast
but if you lie upon the couch
you will just become a grouch

No more moralizing, I promise–but that poem just had to come out.

You can also use this time to cook up a batch of wild rice:

When the roast is done . . .

. . . you must examine the tenderness of the meat. I broke this one apart a little, but the other roast stayed magnificently in one beautiful piece. Either way works, depending on the kind of presentation you’re going for.

Remove the meat to a serving plate along with the onions and apples.

But we’re not done yet!

 Yes, it looks and smells delicious–but we’re about to take the yumminess up a notch. Actually, more like ten notches. So cover that meat with foil to keep it warm while we begin the final and imperative step.

Turn the heat on the stove to high, and violently boil the remaining liquid in the pot for about 15 minutes, until thick. Here are some before and after pictures so that you can see how quickly it reduces:

Is this really necessary? someone may ask. (They will especially ask this if the growling roars in their stomach have graduated from kittycat to mountain lion levels.)

And the answer is: YES! This part is essential!

Don’t even think of skipping it.

Think gravy, but even better. This makes the dish. Spoon the sauce over the pork, and serve it all over rice! Only then will you understand. See, I considered skipping the sauce step, but after one bite, I became a true believer.

Spoon it generously, people! I want to see you swimming in sauce.

These pictures can’t possibly convey what I want to convey.

It’s just too brown.

But your taste buds will sing!


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Spicy Tomato Cashew Soup

Let’s put it this way: when I saw this post on Joanne’s blog, I knew I had to make the tomato soup she was talking about. I commented saying something like “looks delicious” and “can’t wait to make it”–but it was no mere blogger small talk. I actually couldn’t wait. I went to the grocery store that very day on my way home from work, picked up the ingredients I needed, walked in the door of my apartment, turned on the oven, and immediately started roasting those tomatoes.

I’ve never had such a fast recipe-to-table turnaround. I don’t know what about this soup (as opposed to all the other recipes I drool over on the internet) compelled me to make it so quickly, but guys–it’s truly amazing.

I’m thinking of writing “Call of the Tomato Soup”–kind of like “Call of the Wild” except . . . more different. With less stuff about wolves and more stuff about food.

This, my friends, is no traditional tomato soup. The Indian spices make it interesting and very flavorful, without detracting from its naturally comforting qualities. As long as you’re okay with a little spice (nothing unpleasant–just a delightful glow-in-your-mouth kind of level), I say make it! And fast. It’s a very low-effort meal with little hands-on time, and it’s also a great twist on what I’m sure for many of us was a childhood favorite.


(Serves 4)

1 ½ lb Roma tomatoes
2 tsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
½ large red onion
6 cloves garlic
2 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/3 cup salted cashews
1 TBS tomato paste
1 cinnamon stick (1’’ in length)
1 cardamom pod, bruised
4 cups water
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
Optional: extra cashews and cilantro, to garnish

Here are the ingredients.

Except that I was in a hurry to get this soup moving, and in my frenzy I confused it with another recipe I was planning on making, and a few interlopers snuck in.

I x-ed them out for you. No hot pepper. No shallots. Those belong in the Tarka Dhal recipe I shared recently–also Indian, hence my confusion. While I’m giving orders out, I might as well order you to make that too, because it’s fab. Just fab, girlfriend. (Sorry, just channeling a little Beth Moore there)

Preheat the oven to 300 F. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil. Halve the tomatoes lengthwise . . .

. . . toss them with 1 tsp olive oil, sprinkle them with salt and pepper . . .

and place them cut side up on the baking sheet.

Roast the tomatoes for at least 1 hour, but longer if you have time. Use this hour to head down to your local beach and do a quick photo shoot with a beautiful Pilates instructor/dancer named Amie.* When you come back, the tomatoes will be roasted and also cool enough to handle. Remove and discard the skins.

*If you don’t have a beautiful Pilates instructor/dancer named Amie available to photograph, I make no guarantees. None at all. The batch of soup will probably be ruined, destruction and gnashing of teeth will ensue, etc. etc. I apologize for any inconvenience.

Chop the red onion (roughly, since it’s all going to get pureed anyway), and heat the remaining teaspoon of oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. When hot, add the red onion. Cook for 6-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden-brown.

While it’s cooking, mince the garlic and ginger.

Measure out the garam masala, coriander, and chili powder, because the spices are about to go in.

Add the ginger, garlic, spices, cashews, and tomato paste to the red onion.

Cook for a couple minutes, stirring constantly (to avoid burning the spices), until very fragrant.

Add the water . . .

. . . as well as the cinnamon stick and cardamom pod . . .

. . . and those lovely roasted tomato halves.

Scrape the bottom of the pot to release the brown bits.

Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes. Once that half hour is up, remove the cinnamon stick and cardamom pod, and blend the soup using an immersion blender.

Temper the yoghurt with a little hot liquid from the soup . . .

. . . then stir it into the soup.

Things are looking and smelling unbelievably good.

Taste the soup and season to taste with salt and pepper. You can garnish with extra cashews or a bit of cilantro if you’d like. I served it with some freshly baked Parmesan tortilla wedges.

Next time I plan on serving it with grilled cheese–maybe amped up grilled cheese with some melty slabs of Pepper Jack inside.

Or I might just use a nice mild cheese to counteract the spice of the soup.

In any case, what a total comfort food.

Hope you guys enjoy it as much as I did! Another awesome soup coming up next week.

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