Thursday, January 01, 2009

Wrapping It Up

I'm not a big "theme dinner" person, but it seemed like the last meal of 2008 should be something simple and hearty but also memorable. My brother and the lovely Ms. W- were coming over for a belated Christmas celebration, since they'd spent the holiday in Houston with her family, so whatever I came up with needed to serve five. Spaghetti with tomato sauce or a big pot of soup would fit the bill, but I went to the store with nothing in particular in mind.

When I saw a large boneless pork leg roast in the meat case for under three bucks a pound, it seemed like the universe had put it in my path for a reason. Now, I've never really made a pork roast, but since the universe was obviously in charge of this dinner, I figured it wasn't really my problem, right?

To help the universe along a little bit, I did a search on and a recipe for Tuscan pork roast popped up. It seemed like a good fit with what I had on hand, and I threw some oil-cured olives and sun-dried tomatoes into the mix just for fun. With the weather cooperating, in that it wasn't pouring rain or freezing cold, I lit a fire in the Weber and an hour or so later we were sitting down with a bottle of 1999 Poggio al Sole Casasilia Chianti from my brother's cellar, toasting a perfect year-end meal.

Tuscan Pork Roast
Adapted from

6 garlic cloves, minced fine
1/4 c. fresh rosemary, minced fine
1/2 c. oil-cured olives, minced fine
4 halves sun-dried tomatoes, slivered
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. olive oil
1 3-4 lb. boneless pork roast

In mixing bowl, combine garlic, rosemary, olives, tomatoes, salt and olive oil. Untie pork roast and open up so it's more-or-less flat, slicing it open further if necessary to make it a fairly consistent thickness. Remove 1 tablespoon of garlic mixture and put aside. Spread the rest evenly over the pork, then re-roll and tie tightly with chef's twine. Rub the reserved garlic mix over the outside of the meat. You can prepare this ahead of time to this point, covering it with plastic wrap in the refrigerator and pulling it out about a half hour before cooking.

Grill over indirect heat until internal temperature reaches 125-130° (approx. 1 hour), then remove to cutting board, tent with aluminum foil and let it rest for 20 minutes. (Other recipes call for an internal temperature of 155°, but we find that the meat tends to be overcooked at that temperature.) You can also roast this in the oven at 350° for 1 1/2 hrs. until it reaches the same temperature.

Update (1/2): There were a couple of slices left over and they made fabulous sandwiches for lunch today! Yum!


Cathy said...

Oh my, this sounds good. The sun dried tomato mixture would give the pork so much flavor. A lovely way to end 2008.

Kathleen Bauer said...

There's nothing like good company, good wine and good food to make a perfect evening any time. Thanks, Cathy!