This year we are entrusted with providing the menu at a Christmas eve gathering and have settled on an entree that is frugal, efficient, celebratory, and capable of feeding 15 people with ease, which is ideal during this cash and time poor season.
It is a slow roasted pork shoulder. We take as our inspiration "Pork Shoulder Donnie Brasco" from Hugh Fearnly Whittingstall's Meat cookbook (a genius manifesto on all things carnivorous from the British food guru). The mob movie reference, he says, is because you can prep it, put it in the oven, and "fuggedaboutit." The other Hugh does his with an asian-inspired rub, but we took it Meditteranean with what we had on hand: garlic, sage, rosemary, oregano, thyme, thai bird chiles, smoked paprika, salt, brown sugar. You basically score a 10 pound pork shoulder, rub in some yummy seasonings (the above Med rub or anything you want), then cook it at 225 degrees for 16-20 hours (i'm cheating; doing mine at 250 for 14 to keep it within a single day). A final 450 degree blast for 45 minutes or so is supposed to crisp up the cracklings. Let it rest and carve it. So go the instructions in a nutshell. I will share details after the holidays, along with pictures of each step (right now we're only a few hours into the roast, so we don't know the final outcome yet; all i can report is the house smells heavenly).
In the meantime, here's a shot of the menus we've got rolling over the next couple of days. They're scribbled on awesome chalkboard panels I just put up in our kitchen, instantly turning U.S. Gastrokid HQ into a Gastropub. The chalkboard panels are made by Wallcandy Arts and can be attached to any surface without adhesives, and removed just as easily (static or some other magical force field seems to hold them there). I put two together here for big impact. I bought mine at the awesome design store OK on third street here in Los Angeles for 65 bucks or so (8303 West Third Street 323.653.3501). Maybe the coolest thing I've bought all year: I plan to use it for jotting down the week's menus, shopping lists, cocktail ideas, and the like. Problem is, I keep having to tell the kids to get down from the counter as they believe, rightly, that all chalkboards are their domain.
Happy holidays to all from Gastrokid. And if you've got a free moment (as if) we'd love to hear what you're cooking over the next couple of days.