My new favorite way to cook a pork roast is to purchase a 5-bone rack . If you want to get fancy, have the butcher “French” the bones. It will make for a delightful presentation and it is delicious.
This is in stark contrast to the pork I’m used to eating. It seems to me the majority of the really bad meals I’ve eaten over the course of my life have involved pork. I’ve choked down uninteresting, unpalatable, and barely digestible roasts. I’ve struggled with loins that couldn’t be saved no matter how much sauce was ladled over them, and chops that could have been better used as shingles nailed to the roof of a house. Quite simply, if pork is not cooked properly, it will taste dry, have very little flavor, and will be a very tough chew. This is the result of either cooking the meat too long or selecting a cut that lacks enough fat to make it moist. In either case the outcome is less than desirable.
But don’t despair. There are cooking options to lessen the chances of this happening. Methods such as braising or slow cooking can take an inexpensive cut of pork and turn it into a delightful main course that is tender and flavorful. Another method is to cut the pork into thin slices (medallions) and quickly sear them before the moisture has a chance to cook away. And there is yet another method where bacon or prosciutto can be wrapped around the pork to lend fat, which in turn lends moisture and flavor to the cut.
Pork can also be brined. This method will not only add moisture, but it also seems to add a bit more latitude to the cooking times (they needn’t be quite as exact if your selection has been brined). The down side to this is I think it adversely affects the flavor of the pork.
But the tastiest way I’ve found is to prepare a 5-bone rack of pork. To begin with, place the rack of pork on a preparation surface (bone-side down). You will see the top of the roast covered with a pad of fat. Do cross-wise slits in the pad and then rub a prepared herbal paste into the slits, and then over the whole roast. Let it rest for a while (overnight is best) in the refrigerator to let the spices infuse and flavor the meat. Place it in a roasting pan, place the pan in an oven, and two hours later you will have a beautiful pork roast that will supply you with the best pork (or possibly the best meat) you have ever tasted.
Pork Rack With Morel Mushroom Pan Sauce
2 TbspSage, fresh and chopped
2 TbspRosemary, fresh and chopped
1 1/2 TbspKosher salt
1 TbspPepper black ground
4 lb.Pork rack with bones Frenched (5-bone)
4 oz.Morel mushrooms dried whole
2 cupsBoiling water
1Shallot, finely chopped
2 cupsChicken broth
1 cupWhipping cream
Reserved juicesFrom skillet
1 cupSherry (Dry Sack)
The day before:
Chop garlic and shallots in mini processor. Scrape down bowl and add next 5 ingredients. Blend until paste forms.
Place rack, bone-side down, on a work surface and make about 5 slits in fat. Rub some of the paste in the slits. Rub remaining paste all over the rack.
Cover and place in refrigerator.
The morning of the event:
Combine 2 cups of boiling water and dried mushrooms in a glass dish. Stir occasionally. Let soak for about 3 hours.
Using slotted spoon, transfer mushrooms to small bowl. Reserve soaking liquid.
Melt butter in 3-qt saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add shallot and saute’ for about about 3 minutes. Add brandy and shake the pan until brandy almost evaporates.
Add chicken broth and cream. Also, slowly pour in mushroom soaking liquid leaving any sediment behind.
Add mushrooms to the saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and boil gently until sauce thickens until a flat-edged spoon can be pulled through the liquid leaving a track. (about 30 minutes).
Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated.
Enter Target Time _______________.
Time: __________ (4 hours prior to target time)
Remove roast from refrigerator, uncover and let stand 2 hours at room temperature before putting in oven.
Remove mushroom base from refrigerator 4 hours before target time.
Time: __________ (2 hours prior to target time)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place roast on metal rack in roasting pan and position in bottom third of oven. Do not line pan with aluminum foil.
Roast until thermometer inserted into pork from center of top reads 148 degrees (about 90 minutes).
Transfer roast to platter.
Pour pan juices from roasting pan into mushroom base in saucepan that was prepared earlier.
Place roasting pan over 2 burners set at medium heat. Pour in Sherry and deglaze the pan. Pour result into mushroom base.
Boil sauce until reduced to 3 cups, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Return to rib roast and cut between ribs into chops.
Place ribs on plates, spoon mushrooms to the side, and pour pan sauce over chops and mushrooms.
Note: We like to serve this with corn and bread, and pair it with Sherry.