Herb Crusted Pork Roast

IMG_5394When my parents would visit my younger sister and I in our apartment in the late 70’s (returning to the city from their back-to-the-land adventures on Thetis Island) I would try to make a really sumptuous feast at least once during their visit.  I can remember buying a huge pork roast (in reality it was probably no more than four pounds) to serve one night.  I carefully sliced it through almost to the bone, every couple of inches, and stuffed it with nuts, herbs, and dried fruits.  There wasn’t a recipe to follow, it was just an idea I had.  I stuck garlic slices into it, and salt & peppered the fat.  I roasted it on low until the meat could be pulled from the bone.  I still have no idea what cut of pork it was, but its flavour holds fast in my memory.

Pork does so well when treated to a good crust or stuffing, or the both.  This herb & salt mix takes the humble pork butt roast to an amazing centerpiece.  The butt is full of flavour due to the lines of fat that run through it. The fat pulls the flavours in and through it.  Let it sit at room temperature for one hour after covering it with the seasoning.  It will give the pork a chance to take advantage of all you have offered it. Continue reading

Cassoulet (Ann’s North American version)

IMG_2244Cassoulet is the original pork and beans.  Each region in France seems to have their version, goose or duck and whichever sausage the region is known for.  My first taste of cassoulet was from Oyama Sausage.  It had confit of duck, their own sausage, and such a light tomato sauce.  We had it for Christmas lunch, and for many years since it’s been our family’s tradition to have Cassoulet at Christmas.

It is a great dish for large groups of people, as it is easily doubled and tripled.  It rebounds, from being frozen, beautifully, and can be made up to 3 days ahead, just hold off with the crumb topping until you’re ready to bake it.  All that’s needed is a crunchy green winter salad, some rustic bread, and big, bold red wine.  I served it for a 65th birthday last year, and saw many folks going back for thirds!  Not that I haven’t done it myself. Continue reading