Autumn is all around us; school starting, football, pumpkins and with the heat subsiding it’s time to put those ovens to good use! A fabulous way to invite the aromas of autumn home is by braising a big ol’ roast. Braising is a marvelous cooking method that uses both dry heat and moist heat.

20130920-133403.jpg In this application:
Dry Heat – Searing the surface of dry meat at high temperatures to retain the juices, give desirable color and flavor through caramelization and Maillard reaction.
Moist Heat – Adding liquid and covering with a lid allow for additional moisture and piquancy in the roast.

Last weekend I retreaved my Dutch Oven from its state of hibernation to braise a pork roast. With tailgating at USC on Saturday, watching the Packers take home a W on Sunday and celebrating my husbands birthday, we were too exhausted to perform our typical Sunday feast. Nothing shouts scrumdiddlyumptious like a slow cooked roast. I have many beloved memories of Sunday dinner at grandmas, as you likely do too. What grandma may not want us to know is how effortless it is to make that impressive mouth-watering, time-honored meal.

Tools you’ll need:
Dutch Oven (or Casserole dish deep enough for the roast with a tight-fitting lid. My Dutch oven is a coated cast iron because it transfers heat better than stainless steel.)
Strainer
2 qt Sauce Pot

Ingredients:

  • 1&1/4 cup Onion, chopped (about 2 med)
  • 1/2 cup Carrot, chopped (1-2)
  • 1/2 cup Celery , chopped (1-2 stems)
  • 2&1/2 lb Pork Butt Roast Bone In
  • 1 lb Butternut Squash (about 1/3 of average Butternut Squash)
  • 2 Roma Tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 Whole sprigs fresh Rosemary (or 2 Tbs dried)
  • 2 Whole Dried Bay Leaf
  • 1 Tbs Salt (I prefer Kosher in cooking)
  • 1 Tbs fresh ground White Pepper
  • 2-3 cups Chicken Broth, room temp
  • 1/4 cup Port (I prefer Tawny Port because the Wood Barrels used to store Tawny provide a nutty flavor that the Stainless Steel barrels used in Ruby do not)

I realize products can be out of season or expensive so remember all herbs and vegetables, with the exception of tomato, are used as aromatics and seasoning. They can be substituted with flavors that better suit your taste as long as their cooking integrity is similar to the ingredient they are replacing. The tomato is used for acidity and can be replaced with red wine. Although the Port lends some acidity its main purpose is for sweet nutty flavor, it can be excluded.

Mise en place: Everything in its place, preparation of ingredients.

  • Mire Poix = Onion, Carrot, Celery – Wash, Peel, Chop uniformly, about 1/2 inch cubes
  • Butternut Squash- Wash & Chop 1 lb, skin doesn’t need to be peeled. (Be careful when cutting as they are winter squash and very tough skinned.)
  • Tomato- Wash & Chop uniformly

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Cooking:

  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Heat Dutch Oven on stove top at medium high.
  • Sear “au Brun” lightly browned on all sides of Pork Roast in non greased Dutch Oven about a minute on each side and remove the roast.
  • The “sucs” or browned residue of sugars, proteins and fats stuck to the bottom of the Dutch Oven will aid is flavor and color of my roast and au jus.
  • To deglaze the sucs I sweat the mire poix (onion,carrot, celery) added my port and the chopped tomato (the acidity will break down the collagen to tenderize the pork) on the stove top at medium heat.

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  • I add the tomato, roast, herbs, seasoning and enough chicken broth to cover half way up the roast into the Dutch oven and bring to light simmer with lid on.
  • Dutch oven goes into the 200 degree oven and I set my timer for one hour, I will then flip my roast over so the portion above liquid can be submerged. Pork needs an internal temperature of 155 degrees to be safe to eat. My roast was 2.37lbs so it took two hours to cook.
  • Remove Roast from Dutch oven and cover with tin foil to rest 10 minutes and let the juices set.
  • Strain (discard if desired) the vegetables from the Dutch Oven and pour the juices into a 1 or 2 quart sauce pot.
  • Reduce the juices by half over medium heat at a medium simmer for au jus about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
  • Carve roast or leave whole on a platter for presentation.
  • The tender pull apart element of this dish works perfectly for pulled pork sliders dipped in Au Jus, and it taste even better the next day.

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I hope you will enjoy this recipe in your home soon, it is an original recipe made with love from my kitchen. -Katie Bonzer

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