If you are looking for comfort food, nothing tastes better than dinner from your dutch oven. A little bit of work up front and your oven does the rest. Roast beef is always a hit, but if you are looking to make a change in your menu, try a pork roast. This recipe is fool proof. Even if you try it for the first time on your dinner guests, they will think you have been making it for years. It is also great because it allows you to spend time with your guests and not toil away in the kitchen!
A long time ago, braising meat was popular because one could go to the supermarket, buy the cheap cuts of meat for about $2.99 a pound, you know, the tough stuff, take it home and cook it until all the proteins were broken down and the meat absorbed the fat making it very tender. If you want to go that route, it's your dinner. In today's world, you can buy a prime cut of meat if you want, but choice cuts are high quality and you can usually get them at a price you can feel good about. Get what you like, sear it, throw in some broth or wine, aromatic vegetables and herbs and in a couple hours, you have the perfect autumn comfort meal.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
For those of you who haven't worked with pork roast, you will be cooking this for some time so you won't need to worry about doneness in the end. It will be so mouth watering good, you won't be able to stand it! Serves four.
Mustard & Thyme Pork Roast
1 Pork Roast
2 count Olive Oil
2 C. Chicken Stock
1 1/2 C. Apple Juice
1 t. Fresh Thyme
2 Cloves garlic sliced
1 Small onion
1 Small bunch of carrots
7 or 8 baby potatoes
Using a dutch oven (cast iron pot with a tight fitting lid) on top of your stove, turn your stove on to medium high and add your olive oil. Sprinkle your roast with salt and pepper and sear it on all sides. This seals the meat, flavors the liquid you will be adding later and makes your roast look attractive. While the roast is searing, cut your vegetables. Rough chop your onion and cut your carrots at an angle on the bias about two inches in length. By doing this, you are thinking ahead to presentation time when everything comes out of the oven and your guests are following you and the roast to the table.
After your searing is complete, carefully add your liquid ingredients and thyme. Your liquid should only come less than half way up to the middle of your roast. Transfer to oven for an hour. After an hour has elapsed, it is time to add your vegetables to cook for the last hour. Be sure to take this opportunity to spoon pan juices over roast.
By this time, your roast is done and your vegetables are tender and perfect. Remove all contents from the oven and place roast and vegetables on a platter. The liquid that is left behind is what you will use to make your gravy.
1 T. Butter
2 T. Flour
Stone Ground Mustard
Your pan juices contain much of the liquid fat that melted off your roast during cooking and is now in the juices. This is why it is important to strain the liquid and let it sit for a couple minutes until the fat separates. Scrape the fat off of the top and reserve liquid. After this step, I use about a tablespoon of butter and combine with the flour on medium heat. Stirring butter and flour with a spoon will produce a roux. After roux turns blonde, pour liquid back into dutch oven (add more chicken stock if you do not have enough liquid). Stir until thickened. Add mustard, salt and pepper and whisk together until combined. Turn heat down and let some of the moisture evaporate while stirring. When you can coat the spoon, the gravy is done!
I cut the pork into slices and place it in the center of a platter with the veggies around it and pour the gravy over the top. Enjoy your autumn feast!