Thursday, May 16, 2013

Roast Pork with Chinese and collard greens

Fern had to drive to Vancouver to see a specialist. It's 8 hours minimum travel time due to two ferry trips each way, so it's an exhausting trip in one day.  Also, he'd be home late so I decided to do a pork roast, it'll be hot when he gets home. It didn't hurt that roasts were on special so I found a little one, maybe two pounds.

When I got home I immediately readied a brine with 3 cups water, 3 tablespoons salt, 2 tsp sugar and one tablespoon molasses. I used an immersion blender to dissolve it all.  In went the roast so it was covered by brine and put in the fridge for a few hours.  Even half an hour brining will help so it's always worth doing if you can squeeze in the time.

About two hours before Fern's estimated arrival time I put the roast on a rack in a small roasting pan. I laid 3 bay leaves, a sprig of rosemary and a sprig of thyme on the roast, inserted the meat thermometer and put it in the oven. I use a digital thermometer with a cable out the oven door which I highly recommend.

Our neighbour Deirdre dropped off some fresh greens from her garden so we even had fresh new vegetables to try. I wasn't sure what to do with them so tasted them both.  The Chinese greens tasted like cabbage and the collard greens tasted neutral. Collard greens are another type of cabbage but they didn't have the usual cabbage flavour.  They were sweet and seemed to meld with all the other flavours on the plate. I sliced up both bunches of leaves and readied the steamer which took the Chinese cabbage.

I had potatoes boiling on the stove when I took the roast out of the oven.  I immediately put the roast on the cutting board, removed the herbs and covered it with foil.  A roast has to rest out of the oven so the moisture driven out by cooking is drawn back into the meat.  Also, the moisture has to be cooled below boiling so it doesn't escape as steam when the roast is carved. This small roast I was planning to rest at least 20 minutes or until Fern arrived home.  Turned out to be 30 minutes and the meat was still warm and delicious.

I put the cabbage on the steamer and let it cook a bit then put the collard greens in the boiling water beneath.  A few minutes later they had softened so I drained and strained them both.  Then I tossed them in separate pans with butter and salt. The Chinese greens are plated on the right.

In the roasting pan I sprinkled a teaspoon of flour over all and put a quarter cup chicken stock in it.  A little salt and pepper and a dash of Worcestershire sauce along with a few drops of red wine vinegar.  Heat to simmering and stir the dried drippings into the gravy.

We weren't thrilled with the Chinese greens, neither of us likes cabbage but the collard greens were really good. The steak was perfectly cooked for our taste, medium rare, so it was tender and juicy. The gravy was really good too, glad I took the extra trouble. 

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