They say that if you try to do 6 things at once, you will do them all poorly. It’s interesting when we set New Year’s goals, that we do it in so many areas that by January 17th, we are overwhelmed, exhausted and go back to where we were the year before.
I sure have loved learning to cook these past 6 years; especially the fundamentals. What I realized lately is that in the past couple of years, I did exactly what I mentioned above–trying to do everything. You can’t get good at one thing if you focus on them all. I have to look for the recurring themes in my cooking–what I loved the most. That came down to BBQ and Cajun. I write about my reason for BBQ here. Why Cajun in addition to BBQ? Because I’m weird I guess. And because I love the history and culture of Louisiana.
I picked up two books on Cajun Cooking: Donald’s Link’s “Real Cajun,” and Terri Pischoff’s “In a Cajun Kitchen.” Each night after our two kids have gone to bed, I eagerly cook books with the excitement of a grade schooler and his comic books.
My New Year’s resolution is to cook a new recipe each week; rotating between BBQ and Cajun food. This week it was one of Donald’s Link’s dishes, Smothered Pork Roast over Rice (Page 35).
It was weird to purchase a pork shoulder and not put it on the smoker. With the winter weather staying cold, I enjoyed not having to go outside. The pork roast was underway. Basically you sear the roast on all sides, make a roux with butter and flour, mix in onions, garlic, thyme and rosemary, put the roast back in with some stock and cook in the oven for 3-4 hours.
Many confuse Cajun with spiciness. That is not the case and came about in the 1970’s with “blackening.” Cajun cuisine actually gets it’s flavor from what each ingredient brings, not a lot of extra spices.
The aroma of this dish permeated the house. It was beautiful. When I first pulled the pork out at around 3 hours, it was tender but not fall off the bone tender. Another hour and it fell apart when pressed.
Shred the pork, spoon the onion mixture on top, drizzle sauce, serve with some of Chef Link’s “Perfect Steamed Rice” and it was delicious. Sous Chefs Sam & Jesse ate more than their fair share; they always do and I conditionally love them anyways.
I love Cajun because it is a little different than BBQ–you pretty much throw it all in and let it cook together. You don’t need to tend it as much. It’s hearty, it’s comforting and it’s delicious (not sure if I can say it’s healthy).
Here’s to many more dishes.