The butternut squash soup I posted about yesterday was only the first course of our local autumn meal. Here’s the second.
One of the main problems that we run into in a two-person household is that some of our favorite foods often come in packages that are way too huge for a couple to tackle. Take ham, for instance. You can buy smallish hams, but most are pretty grim. Cooked, but flavorless. In order to get the kind of flavor I want, I usually have to get a bone in ham over 10 lbs. The leftovers inevitably end up in the freezer, where they proceed to sit for months and get freezer burn before I get a chance to use them.
And then I discovered cottage hams. At least that’s what they’re called in Ohio. In other parts of the country, they’re known as smoked pork shoulder. And that’s what it basically is. A boneless pork roast that is netted and smoked like a full sized ham would be. When you buy them, they’re still uncooked, but a couple of hours of boiling gets them to the point where you can either eat them like that, or brush on some glaze and roast it for a while longer in the oven. We got a nice 3 pounder at Thurn’s, during our requisite smoked meat trip. Al told us to boil it for a couple of hours, and then to throw it in the oven, which was pretty much what I ended up doing after finding this recipe. The flavor? Awesome. Every bit as salty-smoky-tender as a normal ham would be. And the best part? We had enough leftovers to eat a couple of sandwiches the next day, and then they were gone. No ham graveyard in the freezer!
Glazed Pork Shoulder
1 boneless smoked pork shoulder or Boston Butt, about 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 lbs.
4 black peppercorns
2 whole cloves
1 medium bay leaf
1/2 c. apricot preserves
Place pork butt or shoulder in a large Dutch oven or 6-quart pot; cover with water. Add peppercorns, cloves, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hours, or until pork is very tender.
Remove from heat; let meat cool. Place cooled pork into a roasting pan; spread with apricot preserves. Bake at 375F for 30 to 40 minutes. Slice and serve with potatoes, and your choice of vegetables. Glazed pork shoulder serves 6 to 8.
Along with the ham, we made a gratin from local Yukon Golds and yams, with the butter, cream, broth, garlic also being local, from the same sources as the soup. Great complement to the ham, but next time around I’d slice the potatoes a bit thicker.
Simple Two-Potato Gratin
recipe courtesy Bon Appetit
3 pounds mixed russet potatoes and sweet potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
Butter for baking dish and foil
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped sage
1 minced garlic clove
1 teaspoon kosher salt
ground black pepper
1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
Spread potatoes in a buttered 11×7-inch baking dish. Combine heavy whipping cream, chicken broth, chopped sage, garlic, and salt; pour over potatoes. Sprinkle with pepper. Cover with buttered foil; bake at 425°F for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with Gruyère cheese. Bake uncovered until brown and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let rest before serving.