Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Recipe #60 - Stirring the Pot: Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Salsa Verde

I don't know about you all, but sometimes there are just posts that I don't want to write.  This post is one of them.  Theoretically, this meal should have been wonderful.....but it wasn't.  The pork shoulder, while wonderfully seasoned and slow cooked, should have been meltingly tender and mouth-watering.  It wasn't. I'm not faulting Tyler's recipe at all.  If anything, the blame is on me.  Somehow or another, I chose a bad cut of meat that was tough, fatty, and almost impossible to cut.

Does this ever happen to you all?  Do you occasionally make a recipe to find out that you're working with a bad cut/piece of meat?  It doesn't happen often, but I seem to experience this at least once or twice a year. At any rate, I really wish this recipe had not turned out so poorly because the pork roast smelled so heady with aroma as it cooked in the oven.  I think this recipe, when done correctly, would be fantastic.

Tyler's recipe for the pork consists of rubbing a herb paste made from toasted ground fennel, garlic, rosemary and sage all over the pork to create a crispy and flavorful outer coating.  Tyler pairs what should be a wonderfully tender pork shoulder with grainy mustard mashed potatoes and tangy and sweet salsa verde.  With the right pork shoulder, this would be an incredible meal. The recipe can be found on Tyler's blog, HERE.
Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Salsa Verde and Grainy Mustard Mashed Potatoes
Adapted from Stirring the Pot
Serves 6-8

1 4lb. boneless pork shoulder
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage leaves
4 tablespoons kosher salt (1 tablespoon for every lb. of meat)
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 recipe Salsa Verde (see recipe, below)
1 recipe Grainy Mustard Mashed Potatoes (see recipe, below)
1 sprig fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Place the pork, fat side up, in a roasting pan fitted with a rack insert.  For the rub, toast the fennel seeds in a small saute pan over medium heat until fragrant.  In a food processor combine the toasted fennel seeds, garlic, rosemary, sage, salt, and pepper.  Pulse to combine.  With the motor running, gradually pour the oil through the feed tube to form a paste.  Rub the herb paste on the pork.  Cover the pork with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325F  Allow the meat to stand at room temperature for 3o minutes.  Loosely cover pork with aluminum foil; roast about 3 hours, until juices run clear (160F).  Let the meat stand for about 15 minutes before slicing.  Serve with Salsa Verde and Grainy Mustard Mashed Potatoes and garnish with parsley.

Salsa Verde
Soak 1/2 cup golden raisins in warm water until softened; drain.  Rinse 1/2 cup salted button capers.  In a food processor combine raisins; caper; 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots; 1 cup fresh Italian parley; the  juice of 2 lemons; 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard; 1 teaspoon lemon zest; and 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Pulse for 30 seconds, until combined.  Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Grainy Mustard Mashed Potatoes
Heat 1 cup whipping cream and 4 tablespoons unsalted butter in a saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts; set aside and keep warm.  Place 3 large peeled Yukon gold potatoes in a saucepan; add cold water to cover.  Place saucepan over high heat; bring to boil.  Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt; reduce heat.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.  Drain.  Pass potatoes through a food mill into a bowl.  Stir in cream and butter mixture.  Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Stir in a 1/4 cup olive oil and 3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard.

Notes/Results:  The herb paste created a wonderfully flavorful and crispy coating on the outside of the pork shoulder.  Unfortunately, my pork shoulder was pretty much inedible.  As a lover of all things mustard, I did enjoy the grainy mustard mashed potatoes, although it's hard to knock plain old mashed potatoes.  The Salsa Verde was a nice accompaniment, sweet and tangy.


  1. That's disappointing. I've had a few run ins with bad cuts too. Not long ago, I talked up this local store I like to shop at for meat. Bought some items to grill for visiting family. It was so tough we could barely eat it!

    The recipe definitely sounds yummy. Looks good too. The salsa verde sounds like it's packed full of flavor. And I love the idea of grainy mustard in mashed potatoes!

  2. OH yes, I hate it when that happens! I did that recently with some turkey legs I picked up. It should have been a fabulous recipe, except that the meat (while cooked thoroughly) was stringy and chewy and gave the impression of being undercooked. We threw most of it away. *sigh*

  3. That's so very frustrating when you have such high hopes for a recipe and you end up feeling disappointed! It certainly looks great, though!

  4. To be honest, I know nothing about choosing a cut of meat. It's all luck with me. Looks like it's definitely worth trying again with the right cut!

  5. I hate when that happens...I also always seem to pick the weird hardened vocado that never ripens on one side! bad!

  6. Oh Kim I'm so sorry this had to happen! It does happen to all of us though, so hopefully your next recipe will be a glaring success!

  7. I currently have 3 drafts in my queue that I'm saving for a special "Hit or Miss" post, so I know just how you feel. I get so annoyed when I find a wonderful recipe and it turns out awful. A case in point are the batch of chocolate cookies I baked for DSO a few weeks back. They bore no resemblance to the photo that drew me in and I followed the directions religiously. It's a case of the proverbial @#$% happens. Your pork sure looks good!

  8. oh such a shame I have had that happen with meat before but the sauce and rub sound divine love your honesty

  9. I have had dishes, that had to be thrown out. Sometimes a recipe works, sometimes it does not. It happens to all of us.

    This recipe looks really good, and your plate presentation look really good too. I think it may have just been the cut of meat too.


  10. ah bummer! i've totally been there, it's actually happened to me with turkey a few times and it's a total burn. it sure looks and sounds delish. do you think you'll try it again with a different cut of beef? and i love the potatoes!

  11. Bummer. Glad the potatoes turned out for you, though! This all sounds great.

    Wasn't it here that I read about the fresh ham that wasn't up to par? Pork is your nemesis. lol. Sorry, I know that you're probably not laughing. It sucks to spend the time and money for a recipe that you have high expectations for and then it "flops". Ugh.

  12. Hate when that happen! I'm always like should I give it another try or just forget it??

  13. Just bumped on your lovely blog and already falliing in love of it:)
    I am your new follower
    Pleased to meet you!

  14. I soooo HATE when that happens!!!!

  15. You can do something with pork shoulder OTHER than smoke it? Who knew ;) :) ;)

    Sorry it didn't turn out so good. I've cooked three ribs from the same package, the same way in the same smoker at the same time and 1 of the 3 turns out terrible when the other two are fine. So yes, sometimes you just get bad meat.

    As far as tough, my thought would be the pork shoulder should have cooked longer. I know that goes against most convention but if I pull a pork butt off the cooker at 190f, I can barely pull it. 195-200f is perfect.

  16. Great accompaniments. So sorry the shoulder didn't cooperate. It happens!

  17. Such a bummer when that happens--I hate to spend money on a cut of meat and have it not turn out.


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