The lineupThe idea for the feast started when I found a 5 lb. pork shoulder roast on sale at the grocery store. I threw it in the freezer and saved it for a night I could share it with some friends. When the feast was decided for this week, I defrosted it, packed it up with some equipment, a recipe, and Brandon, and headed to Tim's house. Once we got there, we figured out what else we wanted to make, and went out to get wine and groceries.
For crudités, we cut up some veggies and Tim poached some local shrimp in a court bouillon (Brandon and Justin were big helpers and peeled and de-veined the shrimp). I made some Green Goddess dressing (and as a result became thoroughly jealous of Tim's awesome food processor).
Mmm . . .Green Goddess
For the pork, I followed a recipe I've been saving out of the September '09 issue of Gourmet magazine. It was actually pretty simple, besides the fact that I called six places before I could find pink peppercorns. Finally, I was able to place a hold on the last tin at Caviar & Bananas downtown. Here is the recipe:
Peppercorn Roasted Pork with Vermouth Pan Sauce
6 Tbsp pink peppercorns, divided
2 Tbsp black peppercorns
1 1/2 Tbsp fennel seeds
7 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 (5-lb) boneless pork shoulder roast (butt end)
1/2 cup dry vermouth
2 cups chicken broth (that's right, I used my homemade stuff)
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
Grind 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) pink peppercorns with black peppercorns and fennel seeds in electric spice grinder, then stir together with garlic, oil, and 1 Tbsp salt.
Pat pork dry and use a paring knife to make about 16 (1-inch deep) slits all over roast. Stuff slits with all but 1 Tbsp garlic-peppercorn paste, then rub remaining Tbsp all over roast. Put in a small (13 x 9 inch) flameproof roasting pan and marinate, chilled, 8 to 24 hours.
All rubbed down and ready to roast
Let pork stand at room temperature 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 with rack in middle.
Roast pork, fat side up, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of meat registers 150 degrees, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (Mine took a full 2 hours.) Transfer pork to a cutting board and let rest 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour off all but about 1 Tbsp fat from roasting pan. Add vermouth to pan and boil, scraping up brown bits, 2 minutes. Stir in broth, any meat juices from cutting board, and remaining 2 Tbsp pink peppercorns and boil until reduced to about 1 1/2 cups, about 5 minutes.
Working on the sauce
Knead together butter and flour, then whisk into sauce and boil, whisking constantly, until just slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Serve pork with sauce.
While all this pork roasting was happening, Tim was working on the sides. He had already made some collards earlier in the week, and we decided to doctor them with a little mustard and brown sugar. I have only recently been teaching myself to enjoy collards, and I thought these were great. He threw together a really delicious risotto, which had red wine, crimini mushrooms, and Parmesan cheese folded into it. He also carved the pork, because it had a very small little bone running through it, and I couldn't figure how to work around it (yes, I was also about 5 glasses of wine deep at that point). That bone is also probably why the pork took a little longer to roast.
In the end, it all tasted fabulous. The pork was still nicely pink and juicy, the risotto was really creamy and flavorful, and I loved the collards.
Tim, Brandon, Morgan, Justin
We all had a blast. And yes, I found myself hanging out with four boys for most of the night. Morgan's girlfriend Carlie did show up later to keep me company, and to enjoy some nice leftovers. All in all, a very enjoyable feast :)