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Holiday time is often a time for me to relax by cooking, and I've tried a bunch of new recipes over the last couple of weeks. The most successful of these was the product of last-minute googling: I had bought a lump of pork labelled "spiering/spiringue" and was trying to work out what the heck it was - turns out that in most parts of America it is known as "Boston butt end", though this side of the Atlantic I think you can just refer to it as the pig's neck - and came up with this recipe, fortunately more than six hours before dinner time:


1 lump of spiering/spiringue/Boston butt/pork neck
a small amount of Worcester sauce (in fact I used soy sauce, which I think was OK)
light brown sugar
apple juice


Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the pork in a casserole that is just large enough to hold it and has a lid. Sprinkle the roast on all sides with Worcester soy sauce. Then press brown sugar coating on all sides of the pork. Pour the apple juice down the side of the casserole to the bottom, being sure not to drizzle it on the crusted meat. Cover tightly.

Place the roast in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 95°C. Roast without opening the oven door for about 5 hours, until the meat is so tender that it pulls apart easily. If the meat does not pull apart easily, cover, and return to the oven and roast 30 minutes more. Check again, roast 30 minutes more as needed.

Pull the meat apart and remove the bone (actually my chunk was already filleted). Stir the salt into the juices at the bottom of the pan. Serve meat in its delicious juice hot or at room temperature.

This was really yummy, the meat ended up juicy and tender and very very tasty. I really hadn't tried slow cooking before, and must now add it to my repertoire.

I had a couple of other experiments too. One from my sturdy Good Housekeeping book, labelled French roast chicken, not particularly exciting in terms of technique but very tasty, was simply to roast a chicken stuffed with fresh parsley, tarragon and butter, with bacon strips over the breast, rather than my more usual practice of onion and sage.

Another, less successful in my view though consumer reports were favourable, was a lamb stew recipe from Kenya from the New Internationalist food book. Stew is tricky anyway, as Diana Wynne Jones has noted. The recipe called for stewing a single large (2-kilo) chunk of lamb shoulder in a spicy onion base; I did it with two smaller chunks, which may have been part of the problem, and the flavour seemed to mainly remain at the bottom of the pan. The potatoes never actually merged with the rest of it and I ended up extracting them and serving them separately, which no doubt did not help the consistency of the stew either. So I am left a little suspicious of the recipes in the book, though I will try a couple more.

And for Christmas dinner we had the now-traditional boar, which seemed to taste particularly good this year - perhaps because I allowed it to marinade for three whole days. As with the slow-cooked pork, patience is rewarded.



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 3rd, 2008 07:09 am (UTC)
My wife made pork for the New Year dinner (we had family over), cooked in Geuze and mustard. Imagine!!
Jan. 3rd, 2008 09:45 am (UTC)
The pork sounds delicious.

with bacon strips over the breast

My mother used to cook the turkey with rashers of smoked bacon pushed up under the skin of the turkey and hence, in direct contact with the flesh of the breast.

Your recipes reminded me of a trick I have forgotten to use for a couple of years. To avoid having turkey breast that is too dry, cook the turkey upside down. Not only do you get nice, moist breast, you also make the meaty underside of the turkey (the oysters, in particular) more accessible.

Do you prepare non-turkey dishes at Christmas to try different things, or do you not like turkey?
Jan. 4th, 2008 10:20 am (UTC)
Do you prepare non-turkey dishes at Christmas to try different things, or do you not like turkey?

I had a really bad experience cooking turkey a few years back, and have sworn off it since.
Jan. 3rd, 2008 11:23 am (UTC)
Sounds super. Lately I've been slow-ish roasting (150 C) a piece of pork (apx 1 1/2 pounds) on a bed of julienned vegetables, which include 1 or 2 unpeeled garlic gloves.
Take of the thick skin on the top but leave part of the fat. Score this and rub in some mustard and salt and pepper.
Roast for 1 1/2 hours, turning the heat down if the top gets too brown.
While the meat is resting, push all the vegetables and pan juices through a sieve. Re-heat and serve with the meat.

I love good pork!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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