Most people have one. A fall back dish. A family favorite they can make with their eyes closed, can whip off in a pinch, without consulting recipes or breaking a sweat.
I love to learn these dishes. I think it tells so much about a family. My friend Loren taught me how to make her mother’s spaghetti with garlic and bread crumbs one afternoon Junior year in college. The smile on her face as our dingy rowhouse kitchen filled with the aroma of garlic and olive oil was priceless. I see the same smile on my husband’s face when he talks about his mother’s meat sauce.
My fall back dish is a sweet pork roast. Steve has baptized it Pork Rotini. When I first served it to him, I called it a roti de porc, but he thought something so sweet, tender, and just plain yummy, just couldn’t sound so formal. So the pork rotini was born. But to the uninitiated, I would call it Cider Braised Pork Roast with Apples and Carrots.
I used to make this dish in the pressure cooker (note to self, need to blog more about the under-appreciated pressure cooker), but now that I seem to live in my minivan shuttling the kids from one activity to another, I have been making it in the slow cooker. If someone could invent some sort of cooking contraption for the minivan, they would be richer than Miley Cyrus within days.
Being greeted by the aroma of pork rotini when we come in from one of our minivan evenings makes us glad to be at home. It’s a smell that never fails to put a smile on everyone’s face, from youngest to oldest.
- one 3 to 4 pound boneless pork loin roast or pork shoulder
- 2 apples, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced thickly
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 3 cups of cider (alcoholic)
- 1/4 cup of honey
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a skillet, pour the olive oil. Add the onions and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Spoon into the slow cooker.
- In same skillet, brown the pork roast on all sides. Place in slow cooker.
- Top roast with honey, apples, carrots. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour cider over roast, give it all a good stir, and cook on high for 4 hours, until the meat is soft.
- Carefully remove the roast. Slice it in 1/2 inch slices with sauce and carrots and apples on top.
- If there is a lot of sauce left, you can strain it and pour it in a sauce pot to reduce it a bit before pouring it back onto the carrots and apples.
- This dish is even better warmed up the next day.