Forever-Roasted Pork with Toasted Cocoa Rub
Slow roasting in a low-temperature oven makes this party main course a fuss-free endeavor. Start the pork shoulder in the morning, then leave it alone. There’s nothing to do once you’ve put the pork shoulder in the oven—just check every once in a while to maintain the water level in the roasting pan.
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
• Gray sea salt and freshly ground pepper
• 1-1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
• 1/2 cup water
• 1 (4 pound) boneless pork shoulder roast
• 1/4 cup Toasted Cocoa Rub (recipe follows)
• 2 apples, cored and quartered
• 2 pears, cored and quartered
• 3 lemons, halved
Preheat oven to 275°F. In large skillet heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and pinch of salt and pepper. Reduce heat; cook about 1 minute. Add sage; cook about 3 minutes or until onions are just getting tender. Add 1/2 cup water; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 10 minutes or until onions are very tender. Uncover; simmer 2 minutes more or until onions are very soft and water is evaporated. Season well with salt and pepper.
Season pork well with Toasted Cocoa Rub. Arrange meat on rack in shallow roasting pan with onions, apples, pears, and lemons. Add 1 cup water to pan.
Roast, uncovered, 6 to 8 hours, or until meat is very tender, adding additional water (1/2 cup at a time) if pan is dry. If meat begins to get too dark, tent with foil last 2 or 3 hours. Roast is ready when meat pulls away easily if picked at with pair of tongs. Serve with any pan juices. Makes 12 to 14 (4-ounce) servings.
TOASTED COCOA RUB
• 1 tablespoon whole white peppercorns
• 1 tablespoon coriander seed
• 4-1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
• 1/4 cup sea salt (preferably gray)
• 3-1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
• 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
• 1 teaspoon ground cloves
Heat medium saucepan over medium heat. Add whole white peppercorns and coriander. Toast until spices begin to pop and smell fragrant, shaking saucepan occasionally. Remove from heat. Transfer to spice mill or coffee grinder. Grind to fine powder. In airtight container combine toasted ground spices with cinnamon, salt, cocoa powder, nutmeg, and cloves. Use 1/4 cup of mixture for Forever-Roasted Pork. Store remainder, covered, in cool dry place up to 3 months. Use to season beef or pork roast, or whole chicken.