So, I figured I have a half an hour to kill while the cake bakes. I could go read Harry Potter, or I could try to get caught up on some of my posts. I have goals after all.
Hubby has been laid off since Christmas. While he’s been looking for jobs and applying for jobs, he’s probably going to be unemployed for a while. Although the drop in income is going to be a struggle, it has been really wonderful having him home. He’s been cooking and cleaning and doing laundry. Ok, he always did the laundry, but sweeping the kitchen floor??
Last week I came home from work and was welcomed by a fragrant, savory aroma. It was brine. Hubby had been researching brines online all morning and finally came up with this:
- 1/4 cup Champion Hill Honey
- 6 bay leaves
- 1 1/2 rosemary sprigs
- 1 1/2 T. thyme
- 1 1/2 T. parsley
- 1 whole garlic bulb, skin and all (WHOLE garlic, not just a clove.)
- 1 T. peppercorns
- scant 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 4 cups water
Bring water to a boil in a 2 quart saucepan. Mince the herbs and crush the garlic and spices with a rolling-pin or a mortar and pestle. Add all ingredients into the boiling water, stirring the honey until dissolved. Bring the entire mixture to a boil and then let cool to at least room temperature before proceeding.
Once the brine has cooled, transfer brine to a large, non-reactive bowl and add a 2-ish pound pork roast. Ours was from the half hog we got from Olds Farm late last summer.
Cover with a plate or other weight to keep the pork submerged. Allow the meat to soak in the brine overnight.
After the pork has soaked overnight, remove the meat from its brine and blot it dry. Let the pork rest for thirty minute before cooking.
Cook at 350 degrees until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees. (This took almost an hour, but I started checking every ten minutes after the first thirty. Let the roast rest for ten minute before serving.
This brined pork was delicious! It stayed very moist and the flavor was incredible. We’ve already discussed trying other herb and spice combinations but have decided that if we try this particular recipe again we will cut the salt by about half.
Since the pork came from a local hog, it was a perfect Dark Days Dinner when served with my Homemade Gnocchi in cream sauce:
- Wash about 2 lbs. of redskin potatoes (Westmaas Farms), stab each with a fork a few times and bake until fully cooked.
- Scoop the insides from the potato skins and deposit them into a bowl.
- Run the potatoes through a ricer or food mill.
- Mix the potatoes with 2 beaten egg yolks, 1 1/2 cups flour (spelt; Organic Bean and Grain) and a pinch of salt.
- Stir until pliable and roll into 3/4″ tubes.
- Cut the tubes into 1″ pieces.
- Pinch each piece to create dimples and drop onto a plate.
- Freeze the gnocchi until firm.
- Cook by dropping into salted, boiling water until the dumplings float or store individually frozen gnocchi in an air-tight container for several months.
After the gnocchis were boiled I dropped them into a hot skillet with a Tablespoon of butter, sprinkled them with a Tablespoon of flour and slowly stirred in Shetler’s heavy cream until a thick “Alfredo” sauce was formed. You could add whatever herbs and spices you like to the sauce but I just added salt, pepper and a little minced garlic.