By Angela Denstad Stigeler
Once we cross the threshold of November, it seems the holiday melee can no longer be held at bay. This year, I’ve even seen Halloween décor mixed helter-skelter with some pilgrims and Christmas trees. Before it comes to this sort of pell-mell holiday melting pot, it’s a good idea to have some easy, comforting recipes at the ready. So as not to outshine the big turkey feasts on the horizon, try this tasty pork roast braise. It skillfully blends several culinary influences into a one-pot meal full of flavor. Though it may seem a disparate list of ingredients, the result is anything but disorderly, excepting outward appearances. When you serve this fresh take on pork roast and sweet potatoes higgledy-piggledy right from the pot, you’ll find out how easily this luxurious fall meal will fall into place.
Braised Pork Roast with Sweet Potatoes
1 boneless pork shoulder butt (Boston) roast (about 3 pounds)
2 cups water
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 4)
1 pound onions (about 2 large)
6 large garlic cloves
Place the pork roast in a Dutch oven or cast-iron or enameled casserole with a lid. Add the water, soy sauce, Tabasco, vinegar, honey, and cumin and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to very low and boil gently, covered, for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 1-inch-thick slices. Cut each onion into 4 to 6 wedges, depending on their size.
After the pork has cooked for 1 hour, add the sweet potatoes, onions, and garlic, bring back to a boil, and boil gently, covered, for about 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Uncover the pot, place it in the center of the oven, and cook for 45 minutes, turning the meat in the juices every 15 minutes. At the end of the cooking period, the juices should be dark and concentrated, the meat tender when pierced with a fork, and the vegetables very soft.
Serve directly from the pot, cutting the meat at the table.
Recipe from Essential Pepin, by Jacques Pepin.