Once More to the Pork

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Put away your worries and reservations about fat.

A few years ago I stayed a week at a bed and breakfast above Villa Verucchio, an agriturismo called Duslaun. Every other night Sebastiano served a rabbit roast that was to die for. He roasted it, refrigerated it, then sliced it the next day and reheated it to serve. “People always want a nice clean cut,” he said. “It’s easiest to do when the roast it cold.”

I thought of this sometime after that, on a night I was savaging a pork roast I had just taken it out of the oven.

Granted, there is something to be said for a roast that is moist and tender—to the point of falling to pieces. Sometimes you want meat like that.

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Oh yes, want it bad.

Other times, however, the slice is nice. For one thing, your roast goes further. The platter travels around the table, pleasing people. Another reason, a sliced roast enables to you capitalize on the lusty, aromatic sauce that is the natural by-product of a good pork roast.

For starters, whatever you do, put away your worries and reservations about fat. Good pork roast wants fat. There may be workarounds, ways of making a lean loin roast satisfy. You won’t find that workaround here. Fat is where it’s at.

For this roast I buy a four pound Boston butt, bone removed. I want the bone out because it makes more surface area available for seasoning.

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Salt. Lots of fine ground pepper. A couple cloves of garlic diced and distributed generously across the roast. Rosemary. If you have it, lay springs of fresh dill on the roast. Lacking that, generously dust the meat with dried dill.

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Tie the roast and season the exterior. I’ll dice 2-3 cloves of garlic into the pan. Also toss in a handful of dry rosemary to make its contribution in the sauce.

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About the pan: I like a deep stainless steel chafing dish pan for this roast. Roll the roast in the pan, coating the meat with olive oil. And into the oven it goes, uncovered, at 350. After 30 minutes, rotate the roast, exposing more surface to the (hot) bottom of the pan. You’re sort of searing the meat this way. After 30 minutes, rotate it again, to get as much surface area seared as you can.

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After 90 minutes, add a cup of white wine. Return the roast to the oven for 45 minutes, still uncovered. Finally, check the wine level in your pan. You want a half inch of wine in the pan so you can close the deal. Add the wine if needed, then cover the pan, lower the heat to 325 and roast the roast another hour.

Now do as Sebastiano does: Take your roast out of the oven and let it cool. (Don’t uncover it. Do you really want to see your Christmas present?) Chill it in the fridge over night. Next day, uncover it.

Brace yourself. You’re going to see a layer of fatty, greasy congealed sauce in the bottom of the pan. It’s sludgey. It’s gross. It’s also essential. Take the roast out and cut thin slices. Lay the slices in the pan, on top of the fatty, greasy, sludgey, congealed sauce.

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 (Depending on how many people you’re serving, you might want to set aside a chunk of the roast, for sandwiches later.) A four-pound roast will serve 8-10 people, especially, you know, if you’re starting the meal with a little antipasto starter or two, and maybe a dish of pasta, and especially if you’re serving another meat.

Cover the roast and reheat it in the oven, at 250, let’s say for 30 minutes or so. Uncover it, lay the slices of meat in a deep platter, pour some sauce over the meat. It’s great with some boiled potatoes.  Shown here with little green beans and swiss chard. Eat. Be filled.  Be happy.

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