Introduction: Onion Roasted Pulled Pork

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Onion Roasted Pork is pure comfort food. The falling apart meat so juicy and tender, the caramelized onions are so sweet and fragrant, this dish is true blue in its simplicity and ease. Normally when I cook, I don't just cook, I tend to "PLOW", to quote Will Ferrel as Frank the Tank in the movie Old School. My regular cooking can be a little off the top, but sometimes I like to keep things simple. Low effort with a short ingredient list, letting the food do the heavy lifting and allow simple flavors to shine. This is one of those dishes. Lots of fresh earthy black pepper and sea salt rubbed in to the roast, followed by a coating of Dijon to act as a chaperone to the two pounds of shaved onions pilled on top of this bad boy. Drizzled with olive oil, they caramelize mid-air, perpetually basting the pork shoulder in pure comfort food bliss. A pinch of nutmeg sets off this dish and all though barely detectable once complete, it acts as the secret ingredient. After a low and slow cooking time, the pork falls apart if you look at it to hard. Paired with some creamy mashed potatoes, it quickly will become a classic. To make it legendary though, try scooping mounds of pork and caramelized onions into the craters of some fresh Yorkshire puddings. Now I know Yorkshires typically get lent to only being with beef or lamb, but putting them together with this pork is like peanut butter and chocolate; It just works...

I actually wrote this instructable a while back, but really wanted to post my Yorkshire recipe first to compliment this dish. Since I posted the pudding recipe a couple weeks ago, I think its time to feature the pork! Seriously though, this is a super easy recipe, that looks dramatic when you show off the results. Great for a date night, or instilling that comfort food flavour in your children's memory forever.

Step 1: Ingredients

The flavorings for this dish are few, keeps things simple.

  • 3 lb boneless pork shoulder
  • 2 lbs of sweet onions sliced very thin, Spanish or Walla Walla are good choices
  • 2-3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of Freshly ground coarse pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of good quality sea salt
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil, extra virgin is fine, but not really needed

If you go for the Yorkshire puddings as well, then click this link for the recipe and ingredients.

Step 2: Prepare the Pork

The key to most meats is removing the excess moisture first

  1. Pat the meat until dry
  2. Rub in all the salt and pepper
  3. Liberally ice the pork with your Dijon

so easy...

Step 3: Prepare the Onions

If you haven't done this all ready peel and slice your onions into thin rings. To get a finer slice, you can always use a mandolin or just use a very sharp knife. Save about a cups worth of onions, making them a little thicker then the rest. These will be used as a sacrificial grill under the meat. Break up the thinner onion slices with your hands, and mix in another tablespoon of sea salt. The salt will begin to break down the cell walls of the onions allowing the sugars to leach out and caramelize more evenly.

Step 4: Put It All Together

  1. In a heavy shallow pan place your larger onion slices.
  2. Next place your Dijon smeared roast
  3. Pile the shaved onions on top, go for height!
  4. Sprinkle the nutmeg on top of the onions
  5. Lastly, drizzle the olive oil all over the onions. It will slowly filter down coating it all in a thin layer.

You can always place a larger pan underneath, or even a cookie sheet to act as a catch basin for the juices that will collect.

Step 5: Cook, Wait and Wait and Wait...

Place it in an oven set to 300 degrees Fahrenheit or about 150 Celsius

  1. For the first couple of hours, you don't have to do anything. "Go about your business , nothing to see here"
  2. At about 3 hours you can baste the onion mountain to prevent over crisping of the top layer of onions. Do this every hour for the next 2 hours.
  3. Total cooking time is about 5 hours

Step 6: Let It Rest, Meanwhile...

After the 5 hours cooking time, pull it from the oven and let it rest. Just like any meat, you should give it a rest period to allow all those juices pushed to the edges of the meat, redistribute themselves. The shift in temperature will act as a vacuum, pulling the moisture and flavour back into the meat. A half hour rest is fine, but if you go longer then that, gently drape some tin foil over the roast. Meanwhile, you can bang off some mash-potatoes or to really make it sing, go to the next step!

Step 7: Yorkshire Puddings, Optional

Ok, this is just the ingredient list with basic instructions, so kind of a shameless plug for my Yorkshire Pudding Instructable.

  • 1 cup milk (I use 3.25 homogenized, but skim, 1% or 2% work fine.
  • 1 cup flour (I use plain Jane regular unbleached white flour).
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of fat per Yorkshire pudding vessel – aka your muffin tin. Saturated fats work best like lard, shortening, Margarine, or clarified butter. Since you have the fats collecting on the surface of your cooking liquid from the roast, use a bit of that; it will taste awesome
  • 1 twelve count muffin tin

Whipping up the dish is simple.

  1. Gently mix you eggs with the milk and salt
  2. Stir in your flour, lightly. A lumpy mixture is a good mixture, RESIST beating it smooth! You will break down the egg proteins in the mixture too much.
  3. Put about a teaspoon of fat into each muffin tin pan.
  4. Place you pans in a hot oven 425 degrees until they begin to smoke
  5. Pull the pan and quickly distribute the mixture into the pans, they will be about 2/3 full
  6. Quickly return them to the oven, in about 20 minutes they will be incredibly puffed up and golden brown! Pop them out

Step 8: Gravy

  1. Transfer the roast and onions to a serving plate, reserving the liquid in the roasting pan. It's ok if some stray onion are in the liquid.
  2. Decant off some of the fat into a small bowl and add a tablespoon of flour. Whisk this in. You are making a uncooked roux.
  3. On the stove top, place the roasting pan on a burner at medium heat until simmering.
  4. whisk in your roux mixture until smooth, cook until glossy. A couple minutes...
  5. Taste and adjust your seasonings with a little salt and pepper to personal tastes.

Step 9: Assemble

Gently shred the meat, allowing the onions to fall in between the meat. If you made a Yorkshire, mound some of the shredded pork and onions inside and drizzle with gravy. So easy, so Good... This is also incredible on its own or made into a decadent sandwich layered in some focaccia or crispy ciabatta bread.

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