This dish takes a lot of time in the oven, but little time from the cook. It is a bit like pulled pork dressed up for company and is perfect for winter holiday dinners.
Recipe courtesy of Cooking with Shelburne Farms by Melissa Pasanen with Rick Gencarelli; photography by Susie Cushner
|1 large orange, well scrubbed||3 cloves garlic, minced|
|1 tablespoon whole fennel seeds||1 boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt) roast, 3 1/2 - 4 pounds, tied|
|1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt||1 large fennel bulb (about 1 pound with stalks), trimmed and cut in half lengthwise and crosswise|
|1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper|
Before you start: If your pork roast comes with a netting to hold it together, cut the netting off and tie the roast a couple of times around with some kitchen twine. There is nothing worse than cutting off the netting after the roast is done and seeing the entire mouthwatering crust go with it. Also, check to your label to see if you have bought "enhanced" pork, which is injected with a salty brine. If so, cut the salt in the rub by half.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Zest the orange to yield about 2 teaspoons of finely grated zest, making sure to avoid the bitter white pith. Cut the orange into 8 wedges and set aside.
Finely grind the fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Then add salt, pepper, orange zest, and garlic and grind them together into a rough paste.
Rub the roast all over with the paste and place in a roasting pan large enough for the roast plus the fennel and orange wedges.
Roast the pork for about 3 hours, and then add the fennel and orange wedges, tossing to coat them in the juices. Roast for another 30 minutes and turn the fennel and orange wedges to brown evenly. At about 4-4 1/2 hours' total roasting time, the meat should be completely tender and shred when you pull at it with a fork. The fennel should be soft and caramelized and the orange wedges caramelized.
Let the roast site for a few minutes before carving. Serve with fennel and orange slices.
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