Sunday Supper / 2

Monday, November 18, 2013

One of my goals for 2013 was to host people for dinner on a regular basis. Our space is small which means large group gatherings only happen two or three times a year. But that hasn't stopped us from creating a cozy space for breaking bread with new friends. (Interestingly, I've noticed how having other people over tends to expand our living space—as if their conversation and energy holds the capacity to extend walls.) To maximize my hosting experience I try to have meal preparations done the day beforehand. When that's not possible, I focus on creating a simple main course that doesn't require a lot of preparation.

Several years ago, just before I left a job I loved and head off to graduate school, a woman I worked with had me over to her home for a farewell dinner. I was so impressed with the rich experience of that evening and the delicious meal she served that afterwards I left encouraged and inspired to tackle my new adventure. At my request she wrote her recipe down from memory. For years I carried that yellow paper around in my binder. Never taking the time to recreate that special meal. What a shame I waited so long to make this dish. This truly is the perfect autumn meal. While it isn't a visual masterpiece, it tastes good. Simple food that's easy to prepare.*

Harvest Pork with Fruit
(serves 4-6)

1 5-6 lb. boneless shoulder pork road
2 T. olive oil
1 large yellow onion sliced
3 bay leaves
2 T. fresh chopped rosemary
1 c. good balsamic vinegar
1 c. dry red wine (I use Cabernet)
1 1/2 c. dried apricots
4 medium granny smith or jonagold apples / peeled and sliced

Preheat oven to 325 °F. Rinse pork under cold water. Pat dry. Season generously with kosher salt and black pepper on all sides. Heat olive oil in the pan on medium-high heat and brown roast on all sides for 4-5 minutes per side. Remove pork from pan. Add onions to pan with a little water, reduce heat to medium and cook about 5 minutes. Add bay leaves, chopped rosemary, vinegar, wine and apricots. Bring to a boil. Return pork roast to pan. Cover pan with lid and place in oven for 2 3/4 to 3 1/2 hours. Add sliced apples to the pot the last 15 minutes of cooking. Pork should fall apart with a fork when it is done. Pairs well with a large green salad and crusty bread.

Note: if your guests are vegetarian I would suggest skipping this meal and making something more, well, vegetarian friendly.

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