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10/05/2010

~ Apple-Braised Pork Pot Roast w/Apple Pan Gravy~

Apple-Braised Pork Pot Roast #8 (Whole Plate Finished)When I was growing up, Saturday at our house was always cleaning day (because my mom worked all weekdays) and everyone was expected to help with the chores.  Mom rewarded us all by always cooking something we loved for dinner that night.  Her pork pot roast was my favorite "reward meal" because not only is it extraordinarily delicious, the smell of it slowly braising on the stovetop all afternoon is ethereal!  This is my mother's method of cooking the roast, as well as her recipe, with two exceptions:  1)  Mom makes hers using water (not apple juice) and does not add any apples.  Feel free to do it this way if you don't like apples, the result will be just as marvelous!  2)  Mom never made gravy out of the highly-flavored pan juices.  My husband asked for gravy with this pot roast enough of times for me to experiment until I figured out an easy, foolproof way to get great gravy (and enough of it) to serve with this great meal too! 

Apple-Braised Pork Pot Roast #1 (Ingredients)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1  6-7 pound boneless, center loin, pork roast

2  cups apple juice, plus up to 1 cup additional juice, only if necessary

2  large yellow or sweet onions, cut into quarters

4  Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored and cut into sixths

12  whole allspice

6  whole bay leaves

12  whole cloves

2  whole cinnamon sticks

garlic powder

salt and black pepper

Apple-Braised Pork Pot Roast #2 (Dutch Oven)

About the pan/pot in this picture.  What you see pictured on my stovetop is a 6-quart, stainless steel, Farberware Dutch oven with a domed lid.  My mother actually bought me this pan 35 years ago.  I guess she knew I would be making her pork roast!  It has a very wide base, 12", and straight, deep sides, 4",  which makes it ideal for a 6-7 pound roast.  I've briefly searched the internet, and can't seem to locate a source for anything similar to provide (as it seems Farberware no longer makes this type of Dutch oven).  If anyone out there finds a source, please let me know so I can post it!  If anyone out there sees one at a garage sale or flee market, I advise buying it... mine is 35 years old and still like new!  By definition, a Dutch oven is a large pot or kettle, usually made of cast iron, with a tight-fitting lid so steam cannot readily escape.  It is used for moist-cooking methods, such as braising and stewing.  Dutch ovens are said to be of Pennsylvania Dutch heritage, dating back to the 1700's.  Since braising can be done on the stovetop or in the oven, a Dutch oven is made out of material safe for both.  May the force be with you!!!

Apple-Braised Pork Pot Roast #3 (Ingredients in Pan)~ Step 1.  Add the apple juice to the pan and place the roast, fat side up, in the juice.  Add the allspice, bay leaves, cloves and cinnamon sticks to the apple juice, dividing them equally on both sides of the roast.  Add the onion, then apples, dividing them equally on both sides of the roast as well.  Generously sprinkle garlic powder, salt and pepper evenly over all.  Cover the pan. 

 

Apple-Braised Pork Pot Roast #4 (First Side Browned)~ Step 2.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to a steady simmer.  Continue to cook for 1 1/2-2 hours.  The bottom of the roast should be browning nicely, meaning:  what it looks like is more important than the time it takes to get it there.  

Flip the roast over, fat side down, and generously season the bottom of roast (now the top side) with garlic powder, salt and pepper.  

Apple-Braised Pork Pot Roast #6 (Finished Closeup) ~ Step 3.  Recover the pan and once again, bring the roast back to a boil over high heat.  Adjust heat to a steady simmer,  gentler than the first 1 1/2-2 hours of cooking time, and continue to cook a second 1- 1 1/2 hours.  Check frequently and add additional apple juice, if necessary to avoid scorching.  You want the roast to be golden brown, so again: it's how it looks not the exact time.  Flip the roast back over. 

Apple-Braised Pork Pot Roast #7 (Roast Wrapped and Puree Processed) ~ Step 4.  Remove the roast from the pan and wrap it tightly in aluminum foil.  Set aside to rest while prepareing the gravy, about 15-20 minutes.

Using a teaspoon, find, remove and discard all of the allspice, bay leaves, cloves and cinnamon sticks.  Transfer all of the pan drippings to food processor fitted with steel blade and process until smooth, about 10-15 seconds. 

Return the drippings to a pan on stovetop (you'll have about 3 cups).  

PICT0711~ Step 5.  "The Gravy".  Please reserve judement on what I'm about to say until I've said it.  I've done my homework.  I've tried making the roux and adding chicken stock to make perfect gravy out of these amazing drippings, and it was great.  But, the best gravy was achieved by when I added 2-4, 12-ounce jars of myr favorite brand of store-bought chicken gravy.  Simply stir it in, a jar at a time until you get the consistency you want, bring mixture to a simmer and serve.  Why do I, "the purist", recommend this?  Because these drippings are so amazing and flavorful, you won't taste any difference in the final product.  In cases like this, I opt for easy.  

What happens in Melanie's Kitchen stays in Melanie's Kitchen!

Apple-Braised Pork Pot Roast #9 (Finished Closeup #1)Apple-Braised Pork Pot Roast w/Apple Pan Gravy:  Recipe serves 8-10 easily.  Recipe yields 6-8 cups of the one of most flavorful gravies you will ever taste.

Special Equipment List:  6-quart Dutch oven w/domed lid; cutting board; paring knife; aluminum foil; food processor; 4-quart saucepan

Apple-Braised Pork Pot Roast #10 (Finished)Cook's Note:  In the picture above, the roast is served with my recipe for ~ Smashed Maple Sweet Potatoes ~, found in Categories 4 & 18.  The roast, leftover, reheated and thinly sliced, topped with a tablespoon or two, or three, of warmed gravy makes the most amazing sandwiches.  I like to use soft rolls for these sandwiches.  My favorites are our Pennsylvania Dutch potato rolls!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2010) 

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Excellent suggestion Albite2eat! I like enameled cast-iron a lot and have several sizes of Le Crueset Dutch oven-type pots. For anyone wanting to use a 5.5-quart cast-iron Dutch oven, you'll need to adjust the size of the roast that I used in this recipe, because the pot won't be wide enough at the base to fit the length of a 6-7 pound roast. While 5.5-quarts and 6-quarts are very close in size, my 6-quart pot is configured wider and shorter. Just ask your butcher to cut you a 5-5 1/2 pound roast and proceed with the directions accordingly. The finished recipe will then yield 6-8 servings. Thanks again for your recommendation Albitetoeat!

A great pot to use for this recipe is the Le Crueset 5.5 quart dutch oven. It is heavy cast iron coated in enamel. It is perfect for pot roast, soup, deep frying, rice marinara, etc... It can also go directly into the oven. The best thing is that it cleans up easily. No scrubbing. BUT, you should not use metal in this pot because it scratches the enamel. But it is the best for anything. Check out the link.

http://www.google.com/search?q=le+creuset+outlet&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

Dining Table! This is a family favorite of ours and is one of those recipes that everyone loves whether it be a weeknight meal or a holiday celebration. Enjoy!

This is something really nice. I would love to try this one and make it a part on our Christmas table.

I have a 10 inch cast iron camp stove, which essentially functions as the exact same type of pan except; 1] it's cast iron, 2] the sides aren't exactly straight and 3] you can use the lid as a skillet.

I'd assume you can use that too.

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