In this follow-up book, Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift tackle the other end of the cooking spectrum. They say, Slow down! It's the weekend! Let's cook something really delicious. And here's how to do it.
I really can't say enough good things about this cookbook. In the same way that listening to an episode of The Splendid Table feels like sitting down to a cup of tea with Lynne Rossetto Kasper, so does this book. Not only are the recipes completely tantalizing, but they're interspersed with witty quips, shopping tips, and brilliant ideas for re-purposing leftovers. It's like Lynne and Sally are right there with you as you flip through the pages.
The cookbook actually opens with several different menus. We get a Vietnamese Sunday Lunch, a Festive Indian Dinner, and an Italian Renaissance Supper, just to name a few. Each menu plan is presented with a description of the overall meal, tips for stocking the pantry, and suggestions for timing all the cooking. These meals really give the recipes in the book context and underscore the idea that weekends are for slowing down, relaxing, and sharing food with friends.
These menus also give you an idea of the breadth of recipes covered in the book. I love that there is a recipe for Wedding Lamb Biriyani pages away from one for Yucatán Pork in Banana Leaves. Turn to another page, and you might discover ricotta gnocchi or stumble upon a Scandinavian soup with salmon dumplings. Seeing so many cultural culinary offerings side by side could easily make the book feel disjointed, but instead it just feels rich and engaging.
It also helps that the recipes feel completely do-able instead of intimidating. If there is an unfamiliar ingredient, you can bet there's a side-bar explaining where to find it and how to use it. If the recipe looks long and complex, you'll also find that it's been broken down into easily understood steps with lots of tips for making it work in your schedule. Lynne and Sally have anticipated all our worries and cooking anxieties, and taken steps to ease the way.
There is plenty here to keep us occupied through the coming winter months. It will also give us an excellent excuse to turn on the oven, open a bottle of wine, and invite some friends over for dinner.
• Buy the Book! The Splendid Table's How to Eat Weekends by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift, $22 on Amazon.com
30 minutes prep time; 3 days seasoning time; 2 1/2 hours oven time; 10 to 15 minutes rest time
So forgiving, you can calibrate this roast around your needs instead of the usual other way around. It will hold happily in a low oven (180ºF. or so) for 1 hour.
6- to 7-pound boneless pork shoulder or Boston butt, well marbled
1 generous teaspoon whole cloves, or 1 level teaspoon ground
1 generous teaspoon whole allspice, or 1 level teaspoon ground
1 generous teaspoon coriander seed, or 1 level teaspoon ground
1 generous teaspoon black peppercorns, or 1 level teaspoon ground black pepper
2 1/2-inch cinnamon stick, broken, or 2 teaspoons ground
1 tablespoon kosher salt
6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/8 cup good-tasting extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/8 cups orange juice
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
ROASTING AND FINISHING
2 tightly packed tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 thin-skinned orange, such as Valencia, Temple, or Hamlin, unpeeled, sliced into thin rounds
1. Marinate the meat: Three days before cooking, make deep wide cuts into the meat. Then grind the whole cloves, allspice, coriander, peppercorns, and cinnamon stick in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle, or blend the ground spices. In a medium bowl, mix the spices with the salt, garlic, oil, 2/3 cup of the orange juice, and 1/2 cup of the wine. Stuff the mixture into the slits and the meat's crevices and rub into the pork on all sides. Tuck the roast into a shallow dish, cover, and refrigerate for 3 days, turning three or four times.
2. Roast the meat: Take the meat out of the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 400°F. Purée the rosemary, onion, salt, and oil, and stuff the mixture into the roast's crevices.
3. Roll up the roast into a loose cylinder. Put it in a large shallow pan, fat side up (we like a half-sheet pan), scrape any remaining marinade over it, and scatter the orange slices around the pan. Roast for 30 minutes, then pour in the remaining 1 cup wine.
4. Turn the heat down to 325°F., pour in the remaining 2/3 cup orange juice, and roast for another 90 minutes, basting the pan juices and the orange slices over the meat several times. If the pan juices threaten to burn, blend in a little water. You want them to end up being syrupy, but not burned.
5. Test the internal temperature of the meat with an instant-read thermometer. Once it reaches 145°F. to 150°F., reduce the heat to 200°F. for another 30 minutes, or until the meat's internal temperature is 155°F. Remove the pork from the oven and let it rest in a warm place for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.
6. The pan juices should be syrupy. If needed, set the pan over two burners, skim off a little excess fat, and cook down the juices, stirring with a wooden spatula.
7. To serve, thinly slice the pork across the grain, moistening the slices with the pan sauce and bits of roasted orange. Don't be put off if the meat is a pinkish beige; it is safe and so succulent. Serve the pork hot.
COOK TO COOK
Why recipes still call for pork loin as a celebration roast we can't imagine. Over-priced and underperforming, the typical commercial loin comes off dry and tasteless. Much cheaper shoulder cuts, like the pork in this recipe, have the essential marbling for succulent eating, and no roast is as easy on a cook. Short of blasting (and toughening) them in too hot an oven (keep the temperature at 350°F. or lower), you can't ruin a shoulder roast.
Start the roast 3 days ahead with the seasonings.
Try a Chenin Blanc from South Africa with this dish. They tend to be more reliably dry than those from the Loire and have a bit more fruit, yet are not overtly sweet.
WORK NIGHT ENCORE
Pan-Browned Pork with Mom's Apple Sauerkraut: Slice the leftover pork roast into sticks about 3 inches long by 1 inch thick. Coat a big skillet with a thin film of olive oil, get it hot, and quickly brown the pork. Take the meat out of the pan and set aside.
Wipe out the pan, coat it with a thin film of olive oil, and heat it over medium-high heat. Brown a chopped large onion and a sprig of rosemary in it along with a cut-up large apple. Blend in 2 minced garlic cloves, several cups rinsed and drained sauerkraut, and a generous splash of white wine. Stir up the brown glaze in the pan as you cook down the wine. Blend in any pan juices left from the pork and the pork pieces. Have the dish hot and serve it with boiled potatoes or toasted, chewy dark bread.
Reprinted from The Splendid Table's How to Eat Weekends by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift. Copyright © 2011. Photos copyright © 2011 by Ellen Silverman.Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc.