Even though temps in Florida are far from Fall-like temps, I still get excited about a new ‘season’ with recipes that highlight warm flavors and traditions. So, get ready for hearty soups, roasts, holiday-inspired desserts and winter vegetables, mixed in with whatever inspires me!
First up is a slow-cooked pork roast. Truth be told, there are few things I love more than roast. What’s not to love about tender, succulent meat falling off its bones, warm/flavorful gravy, roasted potatoes, carrots and onions?
I found a beautiful pork shoulder and decided to pair it with something tasty. I had kumquat puree in the freezer (see my post for Kumquat Date Bread on how to make it) and thought the citrusy flavor would be nice. I know everyone doesn’t have kumquat puree in their freezers so, you could use sliced kumquats (seeds removed), or orange slices with peels (the key is to get as much “orangey” flavor as possible). Kumquats are great because their tartness cuts the heaviness of roasted meat and even brightens the sauce.
If you haven’t tried Cipollini onions (“chip-o-lee-nee”) you must because they’re wonderful. Slightly different from yellow/Spanish onions in that they’re smaller, flatter, sweeter and their skin is very thin, almost like paper. They’re great for roasting whole, which really enhances their natural sweetness. I’ve seen them more in supermarkets lately, but you can usually find them in specialty markets and farmer’s markets, typically in Fall and Winter. The only challenge when working with them is that paper-like skin. I try to get as much of it off with my fingers; sometimes boil them a few seconds to help. Usually I take off as much as I can, retain the stem, and toss them whole into my pot. When cooked, you don’t really notice the skin remnants.
I served mine with steamed green beans tossed in a little butter, salt & pepper. A green salad would also be tasty alongside this hearty dish. Enjoy!
- 3-4 lb. bone-in pork shoulder
- 2 apples, cored and sliced (any variety - I used Macintosh)
- 1 large yellow onion, sliced
- 2 Tb. brown sugar
- 1 garlic clove, mashed
- 1 Tb. fresh ginger, mashed & chopped
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. fresh red chili, seeds removed, minced
- 1 c. kumquat puree (OR 1 c. sliced/seeded kumquats OR 1-2 sliced/seeded oranges)
- 12 whole cipollini onions, outer peel removed (don’t remove stem)
- Unwrap roast and allow it to sit/come to room temperature, approximately 30-45 minutes.
- Score outer edges of the roast with a sharp knife.
- Combine all ingredients for the Rub in a small bowl. Press the Rub mixture all around the roast, especially the scored areas.
- Arrange sliced yellow onions and apples in the bottom of the slow cooker then place roast on top (toss any remaining rub into the cooker as well).
- Set the cooker to low (8 hours).
- At 6 hours, remove the sliced onions and apples (they’ve given all they can give!). Into the juices in the cooker, stir in kumquat puree (or sliced kumquats/oranges) and add Cipollini onions.
- After another 2 hours, remove meat and place it in a serving dish, allowing it to rest/cool about 10-15 minutes.
- Just before serving, remove about 3 cups of the liquid from the slow cooker and simmer it in a small pan for a few minutes to reduce/thicken. Taste for seasoning, then use it as the ‘gravy’ for the meat/onions when served. Note: If using sliced kumquats or oranges, remove all those large pieces before simmering/thickening the sauce.