Monday, September 21, 2009

Polynesian Pork Roast

Yes, this is one you've been waiting for on our gastronomical tour of Polynesia! Polynesians have been roasting pork on every island since the first outriggers landed, and let me tell ya, they KNOW how to roast pork!

First, you'll need a shovel to dig the hole in your backyard. This will become your oven. And you'll need some decent sized rocks for lining it too. And you need to live in an area that has banana trees.

Oh, wait... There *is* an easier way.

I do wrap mine in banana leaves (very handy having that tree out front), but I'll describe the procedure using aluminium foil instead. Cuz I'm nice. We're also going to marinate the roast in a large, ziplock, freezer bag so you don't have to make a few quarts of marinade.

This recipe doesn't really come from any particular island since they all cook this way. And I use a mix of spices, sauces, and seasonings from all over. But if you had to pick one... let's say The South Sandwich Isles.

Here's what you need:
1 pork shoulder roast (or forequarter or any kind of pork roast) around 3 pounds

1 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
3 crushed garlic cloves
2 tsp grated ginger root
small handful finely minced onion
1 tbsp pineapple juice
1 or 2 tbsp water

5 or 6 rings of sliced pineapple
1/2 of a small onion, thickly sliced
small handful fresh spinach leaves
a few large cabbage leaves (large kale leaves work too)
aluminium foil

What you do:

Leave the fat on the pork roast, but score it before marinating.

Mix the next 7 ingredients in a bowl. Put the roast in your plastic, zipperlock freezer bag and then add the marinade (that would be those 7 ingredients you just mixed together). Seal the bag --whilst evacuating as much of the air as is possible-- and then rub the marinade all over the roast (it's all in a sealed bag with no air, you'll figure it out as it really is easy... just hard to describe).

Once the marinade is rubbed into the roast in the sealed bag, pop it in the fridge for a few hours to marinate.





When a couple of hours are up, you then get to make a faux banana leaf wrap! Put a baking tray on the counter, spread 2 or 3 sheets of foil over it. Make sure you leave enough overlap for the foil to cover the top of the roast with extra left for crimping! Then lay your cabbage or kale leaves over the foil, next is a layer of the spinach leaves. Try to concentrate the spinach leaves in the middle, BTW.

Take the roast out of the bag and put it (the roast, not the bag) in the center of the spinach leaves with the fat side UP. That is important as the fat drips down into the meat while slow cooking and the meat is oh so tender and juicy!

Now comes the fun part. Wrap the roast in the foil till the leaves and the foil are about halfway up the side of the roast (once you do this you'll see how easy it is). Then wedge the pineapple slices between the leaves and the pork, and lay the onion slices on top. Pour whatever marinade is left from the plastic bag evenly over the top. Finish wrapping the whole bundle in the foil and crimp the top to make a tight seal.

Oh, the pineapple and onion slices won't really be tasty after it's cooked, but they infuse the meat with some really nice flavours.

4 hours of cooking time at around 300 F should do the trick. Check it after 2 hours: if too much steam is escaping from the top of the foil then re-crimp.

When it's done and you take it out of the oven, let it sit for 10 mins or so. Unwrap the bundle and you'll find the most tenderest, tastiest pork roast ever! Remove the pineapple and onion slices, and then carefully (it should be close to falling apart) transfer the roast to a large platter for serving. Pour whatever juices are left on the baking tray and in the foil on top of the roast.

Place the platter in the middle of the table with hungry folks all around and tell everyone to dig in!


Rachel said...

This is great! I keep looking for recipes like this and don't like anything I find (they all seem to have liquid smoke in them, which I don't trust).

I have a pork shoulder roast in the freezer, so we might go with this next week. I do love a good pork roast, especially kalua style!

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

Rachel: I agree with you regarding the liquid smoke, most kalua pork recipes use it but I find you do not need it. Don't worry if you don't have the cabbage or kale leaves, just use the spinach under the roast to help keep the liquid in. And you can use some waste lettuce instead of spinach if need be.