Showing posts with label pork roast. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pork roast. Show all posts

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Slow Roasted Pork that Makes its Own Gravy

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know that I like Egypt and that the Egyptians I have met so far have been kind and warm and helpful.  These are generalizations but they also seem to love a good conspiracy theory; have an intense distrust of the police; with them, family always comes first and family includes everyone from fathers and sisters to aunts and nephews to cousins once-removed; and personal and family honor is the most important guide to behavior. 

For the first time in their lifetimes, Egyptians of all strata of society and creeds were excited about the chance to vote in a fair democratic election last week.  Viewership for the first presidential debate in the history of this ancient nation was incredibly high, as the average person finally felt that his or her vote would count and they took the task of deciding the best candidate for the country very seriously. 

I am reminded of the response from Egyptian novelist and Nobel Prize winner, Naguib Mahfouz to an 1992 interview question in The Paris ReviewIn Egypt today most people are concerned with getting bread to eat.  Only some of the educated understand how democracy works.  Sadly, Mr. Mahfouz died in 2006.  I think the level of understanding his people have now would astound him.   My only prayer is that democracy will actually work in this case because it seems that no one is thrilled with the winners so far.  The first round of voting took place last Wednesday and Thursday and there will be a run off between the top two candidates in June.  

All that said, I try not to discuss politics here, simply because, as an expat and a resident visitor in a foreign country, I don’t feel I am entitled to expound on things I don’t know enough about.  Also, there’s the loyalty issue.  Criticizing another country or culture is like complaining about your boss or company.  You don’t like them, find another job.  But while you are employed there, you should speak positively, or at the very least, keep quiet.  I am here watching, and waiting and praying for a peaceful outcome, just like most Egyptians.  So, let’s get on to the recipe I made to celebrate this historic vote because someone kind and generous gave me a pork roast to cook. (Thanks, Audrey!)  Since pork (and the alcohol that accompanied its consumption) is wildly inappropriate for an Egyptian celebration, you will be relieved to know that all of my guests were other expats.  

For the roast:
1 pork roast – mine was a whopping 19 lbs (When I opened the package there were actually two pieces.)
Sea salt
Black pepper

For the roux:
3 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups canola or sunflower oil
2 large onions
Medium bunch of celery 
2 green bell peppers or capsicum

Preheat your oven to 200°F or about 95°C.  (You are going to SLOOOOW roast this for eight hours.)

Put your oil and flour together in a thick, heavy pot.  

We are going to make a big roux, just like we made for chicken and sausage gumbo.  Check out the link for a more serious and thorough discussion of roux making.  (If your pork roast is smaller, make a quarter or half the roux or whatever the right proportion would be.  But a little more or a little less will still be just as delicious.  You will just have less or more gravy.) 

Cook over a low to medium heat, stirring regularly while it is still pale but stirring constantly as it gets darker.  

You are looking for a deep toffee/chocolate color at the end.  This could take as long as 30 minutes.  Be very careful near the end as it darkens rather quickly and you do not want it to burn.

Chop your onions, bell pepper and celery by hand or in a food processor.  

Sometimes celery here has tiny little stalks but it still tastes the same. 

Celery - leaves and all. 

I chopped these one by one in the food processor but didn't think you needed a photo of each one.  

When the roux is dark enough, add in the vegetables and mix thoroughly.   Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the vegetables have softened.  

Spoon the roux into the bottom of your roasting pan. 

If you have a fatty side on your pork roast, season that side with the salt, black pepper and cayenne.  

Put it fat side down in the roux.  Season the other side well and add water about half way up the roast.

Cover tightly with foil and then the roaster cover (if it has one) and put it in your preheated oven.  Set a timer for four hours.  (If you are doing this overnight, you can skip this and the next step.  Set your timer for eight hours.  10 p.m. to 6 a.m. is perfect.)

After four hours, turn the roast over, stir the gravy around, ladling a little of it over the top of the roast.  I also sprinkled a little more salt, black pepper and cayenne on it.   

After four hours of slow roasting.

The other side with with gravy on and more seasonings.
Cover again and slow roast for a further four hours.  

Remove from the oven and skim the grease off the top of the gravy.  Discard. 

After eight hours of slow roasting!

I also chose to take most of the top fat off with a spoon but you can leave it on, if you prefer. 

With the extra fat removed.

Stir the gravy around and check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed.  Serve over the pork with mashed potatoes or rice.  This roast falls apart at the touch of a spoon.  No knife necessary!  No kidding.


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