This is the second one. Cured pork shoulder inside. His nose came off in the oven, but he was so cute.
Last week Erica asked me if I had ever made Beggar's Chicken. She sent someone's blog post in which it was made for the first time with success. Maybe it wasn't intended as such, but I took it as a challenge. And with my usual heedless aplomb, I jumped in. But with an entirely different idea. Not just pork, but cured pork. Here's how to do it: Take a shoulder roast, 3 or 4 pounds. Salt and pepper generously, add a pinch of instacure #1, and whatever spices you like. I think you can see coriander and juniper. Throw it in a ziplock and toss in the fridge for one week. Turn over every day. Then soak about 5 lotus leaves. The ones I bought were a bit banged up. And I got the weirdest looks at the Asian grocery, though I go there all the time asking for random parts, the leaves struck them as absurd. Very dry and brittle, and huge, but they worked fine once soaked for about half an hour. Don't be tempted to sit on a floating leaf like a frog. Anyway, wrap the pork in the leaves tightly. Then take some white clay (I think this is B mix) and roll it out flat and completely seal the lotus wrapped pork. I was tempted to give this a little snout and ears, but I actually ran out of clay. Bake at 450 degrees for two hours. Let cool a bit and then whack with a hammer. Remove clay completely. It will actually be semi-fired earthenware. It can't be used again. Unwrap the leaves and slice the pork. It has the most intriguing aroma. Sort of like tea, sort of like sweet herbs and hay. And the meat has an extraordinary texture, not unlike corned beef, but juicy and not stringy at all. Still dreaming of what to do with the meager leftovers. Not a sandwich, maybe a taco or steamed bun.
Food Historian at the University of the Pacific.
Author of Eating Right in the Renaissance, Food in Early Modern Europe, Cooking in Europe 1250-1650, The Banquet, Beans (2008 IACP Jane Grigson Award) and Pancake. A cookbook with Rosanna Nafziger THE LOST ART OF REAL COOKING.
Coeditor of The Lord's Supper with Trudy Eden and Editor of A Cultural History of Food: The Renaissance.
Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia (4 vols.) Three World Cuisines: Italian, Mexican and Chinese recently won the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards Best Foreign Cuisine book in the World. The Routledge International Handbook to Food Studies is in print.
A sequel to the cookbook - entitled THE LOST ARTS OF HEARTH AND HOME.
Latest Books: Grow Food, Cook Food, Share Food from Oregon State U Press, a little book on Nuts from Reaktion and The Food History Reader from Bloomsbury. The Most Excellent Book of Cookery (translation of a 16th c. French Cookbook with Tim Tomasik) from Prospect Books. Not to mention THE BEAST: The Food Issues Encyclopedia for Sage. Latest: At the Table. Noodle Soups coming up next!