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Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Pork Roast with Stuffed Apples

I have no potatoes. My potato plants haven't even blossomed yet. I do have apples, though.

I had a small pork roast defrosted. Apples are always good with pork. The pectin helps break down the fat. Pork in this area tends to be fatty rather than lean. People prefer it that way as it is more tender. Most people here in the northern reaches of the St. John River eat as their ancestors did. The only problem with holding to the traditional diet is that our ancestors worked twelve to fourteen hour days outdoors, with just Sundays and holidays for rest. Now most people work indoors and aren't burning 3,000 calories a day.

I put the roast in a small roasting pan, gave it a light sprinkle of rosemary and fresh ground pepper, and added about a half cup of water to the pan. That went in the oven at 350F.

I cored the apples - I do this with a knife rather than an apple corer, but it is slow and imprecise. I recommend the corer. The stuffing was fresh bread crumbs, torn into pieces about the size of the end of my finger; some green onions from the garden, using both the little white bulb and the top, sliced; some fresh sage and parsley; and a drizzling of bacon fat and stock. I have a small herb garden near the front door so I can just nip out with a pair of scissors and get what I want, give it a quick rinse in the sink, then after shaking off the extra water, snip it into the recipe with the same scissors. The bread stuffing goes into the apples, which are set into the roasting pan. One per serving is enough, but I doubled it since I knew I would have leftover pork. Two went into a separate pan. I could have transferred it all to a bigger roaster, but one pork roaster is enough to wash. I added a bit more water to each pan.

I had started the pork roast with the roaster lid on, then took it off for the last fifteen minutes or so. the roast was small, about two pounds, so the total cooking time was under an hour and a half.

I made gravy with some chicken stock I had in the refrigerator, added to the pan drippings. We had homemade noodles, garden beans, and a salad.

My old meat thermometer had done a lot of work over the past decade, and the last move must have loosened the spring, as it no longer registers. I could covet a digital probe thermometer. My friend, Paula, who lives in the Ottawa Valley of Ontario and raises pork with her husband, tells me that we no longer have to worry about cooking pork to a high internal temperature, as trichinosis is no longer common in pigs. Back when pigs wandered about and got into things it was a problem. I suppose if I let pigs run feral I would be more concerned about it, but commercially prepared and farm raised pork is quite safe. No need to fear infecting the family if the pork is a tad pink inside. Safe handling techniques and a reasonable rinse before cooking are still necessary to eliminate clinging bacteria.

We've been conditioned to believe that a small roast isn't worth the effort. I disagree. Cook a small roast covered, with a bit of added moisture, and for a much reduced time. The slow cooker isn't the only option. We use a wood fired heating and cookstove (Bakers Choice by Suppertime Stoves of Ontario) throughout most of the year, and oven roasting utilizes the "free" energy. A small roast can be done in a dutch oven (a covered cast iron kettle) on top of a wood burning stove that doesn't have an oven, set toward the side so it doesn't get too hot. I once used a dutch oven to cook a moose roast on an open fire. I added half a bottle of beer so it was half-stewed, of course, but with potatoes cooked in the broth and a garden tomato sliced and served alongside, salt and pepper for its seasoning, it was one of the best camping meals I ever had.


  1. I found ya this sounds yummy! at CIA school in New York they still teach (about cooking pork to a high internal temperature, as trichinosis is no longer common in pigs. Back when pigs wandered about and got into things it was a problem) My son girlfriend Ada just graduated from there and we had a big talk about this not too long ago.. Thanks for sharing and I love the pictures.. Looking forward to your next post...

  2. Thanks for the shout-out Magdalena! Have you tried my casserole roasted pork recipe? It would cook nicely on the stove top or in the oven and is perfect for smaller roasts. We rarely do a big roast, Ella doesn't eat that much and I don't want too many leftovers.