Pork Roast with Bay Leaves from Paul Prudhomme
I love to use bay leaves in my cooking. It is my "secret ingredient" in my spice blend. I remember my mother using bay leaves while cooking rice. I guess you could say that bay leaves have been woven into my DNA.
6 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
1/2 pound sliced bacon cut crosswise into 1'2-inch wide strips
1 1/2 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup seeded and chopped green bell peppers
8 bay leaves
1 (6 to7-pound) fresh pork shoulder roast
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground dried arbol chili peppers
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Combine the seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl.
Remove the brown tip from each clove of garlic, then slice each clove lengthwise into slices about 1/8-inch thick. You should have about 24 slices.
Place the bacon in a 10-inch skillet over high heat. Stir the bacon, breaking it up as you stir. In about 5 minutes, the bacon will be soft and will have rendered a good bit of fat. Add the onions, celery, bell peppers, bay leaves, and 4 tablespoons of the seasoning mix. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, for 6 minutes. The mixture will be just beginning to brown, and the onions will be a pale gold color. Add the garlic slivers and continue to cook and stir for another 6 minutes, until the vegetables are medium brown and soft, then remove from the heat and allow to cool. Remove the bay leaves and set them aside. All the flavors of the stuffing must be very intense, because they will permeate and flavor the roast during cooking. In front is the salty-smoky flavor of the bacon, briefly surpassed by the sweet taste of the bell peppers and the piquant sweetness of the garlic. The seasonings reach full intensity in the later part of the taste, underscored by the relatively low but aromatic flavor of the bay leaves.
With a small knife, cut 12 pockets in the top of the roast by inserting the knife about 2 inches deep and about 1 inch across at the opening. Divide 1 tablespoon of the seasoning mix among the pockets, pushing the seasoning into each pocket, then sprinkle the remaining seasoning mix over the top of the meat. Place 1 teaspoon of the honey in each pocket, pushing it in so that the pocket is completely full - try to get 2 slivers of the garlic in each pocket. Spread the remaining mixture over the top of the pork roast and lay the reserved bay leaves on to of mixture, Wrap the roast in plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.
Preheat the oven to 275℉.
Unwrap the roast, place it in a roasting pan, then place it in the oven. Roast for 1 hour, then cover the top of the roast with a sheet of aluminum foil and insert a meat thermometer through the foil, into the center of the meat. Continue to roast until the internal temperature of the roast is 155℉, about 2 1/2 hours longer, for a total roasting time of 3 1/2 hours. The roast will be medium-rare. Serve hot, but I have it on good authority that it's really good cold, especially with a little Creole mustard.
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Good Cooking, Good Eating and Good Living!!!