Twice-Cooked Pork from Twelve Recipes

Our excitement about Twelve Recipes, the new cookbook from Cal Peternell, chef of acclaimed Berkeley restaurant Chez Panisse, continues to build with the delicious recipe we are sharing today. With the Twice-Cooked Pork, Peternell shows readers that grilling meats to perfection doesn’t need to be difficult. We encourage all meat eaters to use Cal’s expertise to make this impeccably seasoned, juicy dish that is versatile and a party favorite!

In Twelve Recipes, Peternell focuses on the core foods and dishes that comprise a successful home cook’s arsenal, each building skill upon skill—from toast, eggs, and beans, to vinaigrettes, pasta with tomato, and rice, to vegetables, soup, meats, and cake. Each tip, instruction, and recipe connects with others to weave into a larger story that illuminates the connection between food and life. A deeply personal book,  it glows with warmth and humor and will be equally at home at your bedside and in your kitchen.

Pre-order a copy of Twelve Recipes through your favorite retailer today!

156_12R_Recipes_061TWICE-COOKED PORK

We started calling this Ping-Pong Pork after a Fourth of July party that grew and grew until we had to move it outside and eat in the backyard, seating our friends around the Ping-Pong table. (We took down the net to prevent side taking and squabbles. Didn’t work.) Ping-Pong Pork is really a variation on Mexican carnitas, in which the meat is not so much braised as it is gently boiled. It can be completely cooked ahead and in fact is quite a bit better if seasoned one day, boiled the next, and grilled on the third. Three-day pork, now that sounds impressive—and hard—but it’s really very easy. This is the perfect-for- a- party pork that allowed me time to drink a beer and lose a couple of games of Ping-Pong to Milo at what turned out to be the dinner table, before quickly grilling up crispy, tender slabs of pork shoulder.

As a bonus, this recipe yields flavorful (if a little salty) pork stock that can be used later for soup or risotto making.

4 pounds pork shoulder, seasoned for an hour at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 yellow onion, halved
1 large carrot
1 celery stalk
1 bay leaf
3 parsley sprigs
3 thyme sprigs
1 bottle of beer or a glass of white or red wine

Put all the ingredients into a big pot and add enough water to cover the pork by 3 inches (about 2 quarts). Bring to a boil over high heat, lower to a simmer, and skim off any foam that rises to the top. Simmer until the meat is quite tender, about 3 hours. Test for doneness by inserting a slender-bladed knife into the meat. It should pull out easily with very little grab. Carefully remove the pork to a large bowl that’s higher than the top of the pork. Let the cooking liquid cool a little, then ladle off the impressive layer of fat that a pork shoulder produces. Strain enough of the cooking liquid over the pork to cover it. Refrigerate, uncovered, until completely cooled.

Take the meat out of the broth an hour before you’re ready to grill it and slice it 1. inches thick. When your grill is good and hot (see Chapter 11 for more on grilling), rub a few drops of oil onto the slices and grill them until well browned and crispy on both sides. Bring a little of the cooking liquid to a simmer and pour onto the platter with the pork (but not over the slices or they will lose some crispness) for extra juiciness.

Also served on the table-tennis court that year were pickled jalapenos and carrots (page 176), white beans with rosemary and sage (page 50), coleslaw (page 90), and sweet corn polenta (page 161). We rallied a bowl of Pesto (page 136) back and forth to spoon over our pork and beans. Your serve.

If grilling is not part of your plan, brown the pork slices instead in a hot skillet or under the broiler. Or don’t brown it at all, and simmer some chunks of carrot and potatoes in the strained liquid. Add cubes of the pork and some peas, spinach, slim wedges of turnips, or segments of green beans when the carrot and potatoes are nearly done. Cook until all the vegetables are tender and serve in a bowl with plenty of broth and Salsa Verde (page 244) or gremolata (page 246) sprinkled over.

Add a couple of tablespoons each cumin and coriander seeds and a mild, dried red chili or two to the cooking liquid. Add cilantro sprigs and a crumble of dried oregano to the herb department. Skip the whole grilling business if you want, and make carnitas. Set aside most of the cooking liquid when the pork is done, but leave in most of the fat. Keep cooking the pork in the pot and it will begin to sizzle and sputter. Stir and let it go, getting brown and fried and falling apart deliciously. Tortillas, some tomato salsa, chopped cilantro, or shredded cabbage with a squeeze of lime and Fourth of July becomes Cinco de Mayo!

Leave out the beer and wine and substitute apple cider vinegar for up to half the water and you’re making the northern Indian specialty vindaloo. Using more vinegar sticks a tangy spike in the fatty pork and raises it in glory; less gives it a softer piquant-poke. Add whole spices to the mix: cloves and cinnamon in restrained amounts; cumin, paprika or sweet red dried chili, turmeric, roughly chopped ginger and garlic in unrestrained amounts; crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne; and a couple spoonfuls of brown sugar. Serve with rice or boiled potatoes and cooked greens or a green salad. Boiled cauliflower tastes nice with Indian flavors, and a spoonful of plain yogurt can cool things down if you got carried away with the cayenne.

Twelve Recipes

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