I'm on a pork kick with Sunday Supper lately. This is one I've made for a small dinner party and it turned out admirably. I've only ever made it for a dinner party because it's a darn big roast for only one or two people, which is usually the number sitting down for dinner in my house. It's from Seattle chef Tom Douglas's Big Dinners (look at that title—what'd I tell you?), and he recommends serving bread dumplings with it. It's all I can do to manage a roast like this, so I'd probably do something a little less time-consuming, like mashed potatoes. Whatever you serve with it, though, make sure it's gravy-friendly, because even after pouring a quarter of it over the pork, you'll still have an ample supply.
- Yield:6 to 8 people
- One 6- to 7-pound bone-in pork loin rib roast, cut from the blade end, chine bone removed and reserved
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons caraway seeds
- 1 tablespoon bacon fat
- 1 medium onion, peeled, cut in half, and julienned
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 5 cups chicken stock, hot
- 1 tablespoon "quick mixing" flour, such as Wondra
Preheat oven to 300°F. Season the pork generously with salt and pepper; sprinkle with the caraway seeds. Melt the bacon fat over medium-high heat in a roasting pan placed over 2 burners. Add the pork and the chine bone; brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Place the onion in the pan; arrange the pork roast, bony side up, on top of the onion. Leave the chine bone in the pan; place the pan in oven.
After 1 1/2 hours, remove pan from oven. The onion should be browned and caramelized. Turn roast over to other side; add the garlic, tomato paste, and chicken stock. (Don't worry about stirring the tomato paste into the stock—you'll be whisking the gravy later.) Return pan to oven for an hour more.
After 2 1/2 hours of roasting, stick an instant-read thermometer into the meat; it should read about 165°F. If the temperature is lower than that, keep roasting until thermometer does read 165°F. At that point, remove pan from oven. Transfer pork to a platter; set it in a warm spot, and cover it loosely with foil.
Place the roasting pan on 2 burners over medium-high heat; bring pan liquid to a simmer. Gradually sprinkle in the flour, whisking constantly. Continue whisking for about 5 minutes, until the flour taste is cooked out, any lumps of tomato paste are smooth, and the gravy is barely thick enough to coat a spoon. Also whisk in any juices from the platter that have collected around the roast. Strain the gravy if you like, but it's not necessary.
Transfer the pork to a cutting board; cut into portions between bones. Pile cut pork on a platter; pour a quarter of the gravy over it. Pour the rest of the gravy into a sauce boat, and use it for whatever gravy-friendly side you wish.