Real Cajun

20 Jul

Southwest Louisiana native Donald Link won the James Beard Foundation American Cooking award in 2010, for Real Cajun (LA 641.597 L756.3r). This cookbook is going to make you hungry.  There’s no way around it.  You can’t look at the photos and not want to taste the dish.  And although Link is an award winning chef, this is not a restaurant cookbook. It’s filled with recipes for preparing real Cajun, rustic, simple, and not necessarily spicy or trendy food.  It’s for the home cook, whether in the kitchen or hanging out in the back yard.

Smothered Pork Roast over Rice

Makes 8 to 10 servings

1 (6- to 7-pound) boneless pork roast (shoulder or butt)

Kosher salt

Ground black pepper

2 large onions, thinly sliced

8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon dried rosemary, crumbled

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter

½ cup all-purpose flour

4 cups chicken broth

Juice of ½ lemon (optional)

Steamed rice

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Season the pork very generously with salt and pepper, rubbing the seasonings into the fat and flesh of the meat. Set the roast aside for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour at room temperature.

Combine the onions, garlic, thyme and rosemary in a medium mixing bowl and toss to combine. Heat the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is very hot, sear the meat on all sides until deeply browned and crusty, 10 to 12 minutes total.

Transfer the meat to a plate, reduce the heat to medium, and then stir in the butter. When melted, stir in the flour to make a roux and continue to cook, stirring, until the roux turns a dark peanut butter color, about 10 minutes.

Add the onion mixture and cook, stirring, until all the ingredients are well coated and the mixture is thick. Whisk in the chicken broth and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Return the pork to the Dutch oven, spoon some of the onion mixture over the meat, cover, and roast for about 3 hours, turning and basting the pork every 30 minutes or so, until the meat will break apart when pressed gently with a fork.

At this point, you can serve the roast right out of the pan, or transfer it to a plate, then simmer the pan drippings, skimming off excess fat, until reduced by about one-third, or until it coats the back of a spoon. Add the lemon juice and taste for seasonings.

Before serving, sprinkle the roast with some additional salt. Serve the roast smothered with a generous amount of sauce and hot steamed rice.

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