Roy’s Midwinter Dinner

I was so delighted to have Roy as a guest preparing his home-style goodness. He’s my  long time partner and I consider him to be the best home cook that I know.  Everything  he makes is so delicious and I am tickled to have him share his Midwinter dinner with you!

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Ham or Smoked Pork Butt, potato cheese gratin accompanied with simply prepared vegetables. This combination makes for a hearty Sunday afternoon dinner for 4-8 people.  While it’s not a difficult meal to make, you can’t rush it, because this deliciousness does take all day.  There are some simple techniques that, if you follow them, will ensure your triumphant success!!  Don’t be surprised if your guests want to take a little nap after dinner!

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Slow cooked Smoked Pork Butt

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  • 2 pound boneless smoked pork butt (or you can use 2 – 1 pound pieces if you can’t find a 2 pound roast.)
  • 1/2 to full bottle of sweet white wine, like Riesling or something bubbly (like cava-Frexinet or something inexpensive)

Preheat oven to 300° degree oven (you may need to adjust to 325° based on the heat of your oven, but do not go higher than 325°!)

Place pork butt in a 9 x 12 glass baking dish.  Add the wine so that the pork butt is covered about 1/2 way.  Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake for about 5 hours.

Cooks note: The key to this making pork roast great is to cook it low and slow, so be sure to give yourself 5 hours to cook it and don’t raise the temperature of the oven to make it cook faster.  When the roast is done, it should just fall apart.

Potato Cheese Gratin

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  • 2 ½ pounds of Yukon gold potatoes –try to find BIG ones of a uniform size.
  • 3 cups heavy cream (you may need a little more)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 oz grated Gruyere Cheese (use larger size shredder on a box grater)
  • 2 large sprigs of fresh thyme (or about a teaspoon of dried thyme)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • Nutmeg—a piece you will use to grate to taste
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter to grease the baking dish

Peel potatoes and place into a bowl of cold water.  Taking one potato out of the water at a time, slice each one into 1/4 slices. Place potato slices back into the bowl of cold water (since it will take some time to cut all of the potatoes, the water will keep them from getting brown right away.)  Repeat until you have sliced all of the potatoes.  (If you want to save time, you can slice the potatoes on a slicer or with your food processor.)

Pour the cream into a large saucepan over low heat.  Smash one clove of garlic with the flat side of the knife.  Scrape up the smashed garlic and place into the saucepan with the cream.  Allow the cream to start simmering.

Hold the first sprig of thyme over the saucepan and remove all of the leaves by running your thumb and forefinger along the stem, removing all of the leaves and letting them fall into the cream.  Repeat with the second sprig.  Grate the piece of nutmeg over the saucepan (about 6-7 times) on a microplane (remember not to over do the nutmeg as you don’t want the sauce to be overwhelmed with nutmeg flavor.

Place the sliced potatoes into the simmering cream mixture, until potatoes are just covered.  Add more cream or milk if you need to in order to cover the potatoes.  Bring potatoes and cream to a boil.  Remove pan from heat, cover with lid or aluminum foil and let potatoes steep for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, using a slotted spoon, remove the potatoes from the cream mixture and set aside.  Strain as much of the thyme leaves and crushed garlic from the cream as you can.  Set aside the cream mixture and bring to from temperature.

When the cream mixture is room temperature (make sure that is not warm), mix in the two beaten eggs.  Butter the baking dish with 2-3 tablespoons of butter.

Carefully layer half of the sliced potatoes on the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and a pinch of nutmeg and 4 oz of the Gruyere cheese.  Repeat the layers. The cream mixture should just cover the potatoes, do not totally submerge them (you may have some leftover cream).

Bake, uncovered in a 350° oven for about 35-50 minutes or until they are cooked all the way through and there is a golden brown crust on top.

Carrots and Broccoli

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Carrots and broccoli

  • 4 large carrots, about 2 cups
  • 4 cups of broccoli florets
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Peel and cut carrots into 1/4″ coins.

Over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saute pan.  Cook carrots for about 5 minutes.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper and about 3/4 -1 cup of the braising liquid from the pork roast.

Reduce heat to low and let the carrots simmer in the braising liquid until it begins to reduce.  Carrots are done when they are still slightly firm, about 10 minutes total

While carrots are cooking, steam broccoli for about 5 minutes so that it is bright green and still firm.

Remove from pan and place in bowl.  Add 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.  Toss until florets are coated.

Serve everything on warm platters at the table and share with loved ones.  This meal is perfect served with the same wine that you used to cook the pork butt.

2 thoughts on “Roy’s Midwinter Dinner

  1. I am sure it’s delicious..every meal I have seen him make has gotten my taste buds dancing.You’re a lovely couple.Happy holidays to you and yours~

  2. This looks perfect for the season! Did you by the smoked butt pre cooked? If so where did you find? Thank you for sharing.

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