Pork Shoulder with Potato & Butternut Bake

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INGREDIENTS

5 LB shoulder of pork 1 small onion, peeled 1 TBSP flour 10 OZ dry cider 10 OZ vegetable stock 3 large potatoes 1 Butternut squash Butter Parmesan cheese sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 475ºF.  Score the skin of the pork.  Place pork in a roasting pan skin-side up.  Cut the onion into wedges and place slightly underneath the pork.  Season pork with salt and pepper.  Roast in oven for 25 minutes.  Reduce oven to 375ºF and cook for 2 hours.  Remove from oven and let stand for 30 minutes.  Remove pork from roasting pan, place roasting pan over burners on low and sprinkle flour in mixing with a wooden spoon.  Turn heat up to medium and gradually add cider and stock.  Mix together until you have a smooth gravy.  Salt and pepper to taste. FOR THE BAKE: Pell and thinly slice potatoes, peel and seed butternut squash.  Put a layer of potatoes in a buttered ovenproof dish then layer with butternut.  Layer 2 more times.  Place 2 or 3 knobs of butter on top, pour in 275ml of stock.  Cover generously with parm cheese.  Bake at 170ºF for 1 hour.

What wine to pair?

Do yourself a favor and get a really good pork shoulder for this recipe.  You can see the recipe list and preparation isn't too complicated, so it does well with a nice cut of pork.  Read through the ingredients and preparation and imagine where you're going to taste the sweet, sour, salt, bitter and umami flavors.

Pork is cooked with vegetable stock can get pretty salty, but you'll offset that with the sweet cider.  I find this recipe can be adjusted so there's a good balance of flavors, and sometimes I'll add a TBSP of rosemary just for a little more.

Some of the grapes that tend to compliment this dish well are domestic Pinot Noirs or some lighter Syrahs.  Cabs and Merlots from new world regions aren't ideal, but 1995 Chateau Musar Cuvee Rouge went well.  That's a Cabernet blend made with some Cinsault.  It didn't overpower the flavors of the pork.  One of these days we'll try pairing it with the Chateau Musar Blanc, which, according to Serge Hochar is his "red wine".  The whites are sublime and might stand up nicely to this dish.

Tonight's pairing will feature 2005 Maison Bouachon La Tiare du Pape from Southern Rhone.  The blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre from Chateauneuf du Pape vineyards are influenced by Mistral winds, and are grown in in clay and limestone soils, covered with quartz round stones.  I don't believe there's a "perfect" wine and food pairing, but I have fun experimenting and trying new combinations with the hope that one day I'll experience that one life-altering experience that is "the perfect pairing".  Please leave suggested pairings of what you think would be good with this dish in the comments below.  Cheers!

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Spaghetti alla Carbonara w/ Hahn SLH Pinot Gris

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This was based off of Mario Batali's recipe on FoodandWine.com but modified to pair with the wine(s).  It's such a simple recipe, but the final dish benefits from the texture from the eggs on top.  We roasted broccoli with a little olive oil and a pinch of sugar to enhance the browning of the vegetables.

Carbonara

INGREDIENTS

1/4 LB pancetta 1/4 LB thick cut bacon 1 LB dry spaghetti 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated 4 egg yolk, separated Black pepper, freshly ground Salt

cooking pork

In a 12- to 14-inch sauté pan, render and cook the pork products together until it is crispy and golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Do not drain the fat from pan and set aside.

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt. Cook the spaghetti (we use wheat or whole grain), until tender yet al dente. Drain the spaghetti, reserving the pasta cooking water.

Reheat the bacon & pancetta in the pan with the fat and add approximately 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water. Toss in the cooked spaghetti and heat, shaking the pan, until warmed through, about 1 minute. Add the grated cheese, egg whites and black pepper and toss until fully incorporated. Divide the pasta among 4 warmed serving bowls. Make a nest in the center for the egg yolk. Gently drop an egg yolk into each serving, season with more freshly ground black pepper and grate additional cheese over the top. Serve immediately.

hahnpg

Hahn Estate winery makes some exciting wines, and at Chéz Bakas we love the SLH series of wines which stands for Santa Lucia Highlands.  The Pinot Gris and Chardonnay are exceptional wines.  For this recipe, the Pinot Gris makes an ideal pairing because the wine compliments the flavors in the main dish without overpowering it.

I like pairing local foods with local wines, and because this is a dish rooted in Italian cuisine, an Italian style wine is my first choice.  We didn't have a Pinot Grigio readily available, so I went with the next closest thing—Pinot Gris.  The wine and food stimulate the senses in a menagerie of wonderful smells, taste and texture.  This is a fairly simple dish, but chock full of flavor.  And hey, it's got bacon in it!  Cheers

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