Monday, September 3, 2012

Pork with Honey Balsamic Sauce


Well, it's been a little while since I last blogged... And I confess, this is partly because a) I've been lazy, b) I hadn't truly tried to recreate an Italian dish, but for one time. However, I promise that this recipe is a good one, simple, garlicky, and will leave you with lots and lots of leftovers!

I thought of this pork, because I enjoyed something very similar when we were in the beautiful city of Florence (Firenze). While we were there, we wandered the huge shopping district, local markets, and of course, museums. Our quaint little hotel was located about a block from a grocery store, and a few nights we would venture out and get a few snacks.

One night, we strolled past a hidden door, a restaurant that was given rave reviews by Rick Steves. Unfortunately, I did not write down the name of il ristorante, but it was memorable nonetheless.

Once we had ordered our side pasta dishes, bread, wine, and sparkling water, I moved on to my pork! It was warm and flavorful, with a scent that you wish you could bottle up and keep. I attempted to vaguely recreate this pork, with ingredients from my humble pantry and the nearby grocery store, and made a simple salad for alongside. I hope you try it and get a little taste of a warm Florence evening in it.


Ingredients/Tools

for the pork:

1 large roasting pan & lid, or aluminum foil to cover
1-3.5-4 lb. pork butt roast
5-6 garlic cloves, whole
3 tbsp. olive oil

for the sauce:

1/4 c. grainy & spicy mustard
4 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
2 tbsp. honey

for the salad:

Fresh baby spinach leaves
Balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. bleu cheese
1 large nectarine, sliced
1 tsp. honey

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the pork in the large roasting pan, and slice inch slits all over the meat. Slice your garlic cloves in half and insert them into the slits. Drizzle olive oil over the meat.

Next, mix up the sauce to pour over your pork. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, whisking and tasting, making sure to add a little more or whichever ingredient you would like. Pour over pork roast, making sure to get the sauce in every nook and cranny. Allow pork to marinate with sauce, about an hour or two, or even more, if you have the time.

When it's ready, place the roasting pan + meat, covered by lid or tented aluminum foil in the oven, close the door, and go relax; 'cause it's gonna be a while!

I cooked my 3.69 lb. hunk o' meat for approximately 2.5 hours. I periodically checked the meat, slicing and checking the color. According to several sources, your meat should cook for about 35-40 minutes per pound, but do your own research for heavens' sakes! I also found a handy dandy chart, which shows USDA recommended temperatures for meat, including pork.



About 15 minutes before your meat is going to be pulled out of your oven (beware, your kitchen will smell amazing), you'll want to start working on your salad. Pull out a handful or two of baby spinach, slice your nectarines, and place them artfully on the spinach, drizzle your balsamic and honey, and sprinkle with bleu cheese.




Once your meat is ready for slicing, do so, and don't forget to ladle some of the delicious sauce over your roast. Believe me, you'll want seconds!

Buon appetito!




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