Recipe Thursday: Roasted Pork Shoulder with Chickpeas, Tomatoes, and Preserved Lemons

Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot, nine days old! Ok, well maybe not nine days but there are dishes we make that we make big and then eat leftovers for a day or so, then maybe turn into something else, and then maybe still freeze some. Some weeks are like that – when we know we have a lot of other things to do (like home repairs, or dissertation deadlines), then we make a vat of something and live off of that for a few days. On big baking days, we have a hard time negotiating meals for ourselves – so something that doesn’t rely on the oven (and even sometimes the stovetop). Marvelous cooking vessels such as a Slow Cooker or Crockpot come in handy, or the Electric Roaster (which we generally use for celebratory events), and sometimes even the Rice Cooker with Steamer, along with our Toaster Oven (so handy).

It’s funny because I have always been annoyed by small appliances. I dislike the idea of tiny mechanisms all over my kitchen (requiring their own storage and for many, only performing one task that with a few extra minutes, I could do better myself – this obviously not meaning my darling Kitchenaid Mixer named Sasha). But after gutting our kitchen a couple of years ago and needing to make dinner in the living room with just a chair for a counter and an outlet, I became adept and admiring of a few handy items (like those above). As we expanded our homesteading preservation we also found that others made it into the modern kitchen (like the dehydrator, yogurt maker, and Food Processor – of which I have in various sizes; a coffee grinder, a spice grinder, a Bullet for smoothies, a small processor for home hummus and pesto, etc). I’ll never own a microwave but our brief love affair with our Bread Maker will probably someday be rekindled. Some of these have entered our life so that our little pea can add more to her kitchen repertoire, many have initially come free from our Transfer Station’s Swap Shop (community free stuff), or yard sales, and a couple we broke down and purchased for the homestead (we are officially a ‘Homestead Starter Kit’ with all of our little systems in place).

This dish was great to do in the Electric Roaster but in order to make it work best, I had to make a vat (you could do this in a slow cooker but it won’t get the crust that roasting will give that makes it extra special). Be prepared: This is a long roast. It was a great way to pull out that roast we’ve been saving for a special occasion (though ours was twice this size!) – the special occasion decided to be life in general (and what a lovely thing to celebrate every day!), and it had a reincarnation or two. This roast could work with a full chicken or duck, a lamb shoulder, any kind of substantial pork roast, or even a beef roast. It’s pretty adaptable to substitutions and amounts (my favorite kind of recipe) and only has a few ingredients (loosely based on a simple Jamie Oliver dish). I have never been able to cook dried chickpeas successfully and this recipe finally satisfied that for me. After an evening and another lunch of leftovers (resplendent with crusty Sourdough slices), we then added halved brussels sprouts, chopped carrots, parsnip, green pepper, and sweet potatoes, a generous handful of raisins and some chili pepper and a pinch of saffron (and water, to cook all together) and served with classic couscous as a Moroccan Couscous dish. Came out amazing. After we ate that for another dinner and lunch, we froze the rest for a quick dinner later in the month (just reheat and serve!). Nine days, indeed.

Roasted Pork with Chickpeas, Tomatoes, & Preserved Lemons
Serves 8

1 lb dried Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans (yes, dried), rinsed
4-4 1/2 lbs Roast of choice (we used a bone-in Pork Shoulder)
2 1/2 lbs Plum Tomatoes (or 2 small cans of Whole Tomatoes, or frozen), quartered
2 whole Preserved Lemons
1 Tbsp Garlic (or 2 Large cloves) diced
1 cup Pearl Onions, or 1 Large Onion, peeled & chopped
2 heaping tsp Ras El Hanout spice mix
4-5 sprigs of fresh Thyme (or 1-2 tsp dried)
2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil
Sea Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
4 cups of Water

Pour the dried Chickpeas into a large roasting pan (16×12 or so). Scoop out the flesh and seeds from the Preserved Lemons, pulling away the stringy ‘veins’ and discard (in most preserved lemon recipes I will then rinse, but in this recipe I find that it is unnecessary and you may even want to use a glug of the brining liquid in the bean/tomato mix), slice into strips and add to Chickpeas. Add the Tomatoes, Garlic, Onions to the pan. Stir in with a Tablespoon (a glug) of Olive Oil, some S&P and then ‘bury’ the Thyme Sprigs in the mix.

If your roast has a substantial ‘fat cap’ – score this in a crosshatch style and make 1″ cuts occasionally all over the muscle. Rub with a glug of Olive Oil, S&P, and the Ras El Hanout getting into all the nooks & crannies. Nestle the roast a bit into the center of the Chickpea/Tomato mix then pour the 4 cups of Water around on the beans. Cover with Foil or lid and put into a cold oven at 325 degrees. Roast about 6 hours until the Chickpeas are tender and the meat pulls easily away from the bone, checking about halfway through to add more water if necessary.

When the roast is done and the Chickpeas are tender – plate up the lovely Chickpeas/Tomatoes, and it is here you could shred the meat a bit if you like or slice and serve over the vegetables. We also like to serve it ‘Family Style’ on a platter we share together. Drizzle with Olive Oil and Enjoy! If you need a ‘grain’ or starch to make this more substantial, it is great with bread or Fregola. This dish keeps well and the flavors meld even more after a day or two. Freezes and reconstitutes well.

Published by Rachael M Rollson

creative life-learner

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