RECIPES: Chef Lydia Shire's Favorites

Place the pork rack on your cutting board, wipe off any wetness and with a very sharp long slicing knife. Slice down through the skin, into the fat almost to the meat. Keep slicing as thin as you can across the entire surface of the skin right down to almost the meat. The skin will now almost resemble an accordion. Mix the three ingredients together for the "wash" and slather all over the sliced pork skin. Let sit in your refrigerator, uncovered, overnight.

Day Two:

The next day wipe off all the dried salt. Now you are ready to render the fat from under the skin. Place 2 lbs. of lard in a large roasting pan, melt slowly over low heat , you may have to augment with some additional salad oil if the lard does not come 1/3 inch up the side of the pan you are using . You can also cut the roast in half and do this in a smaller pan .. simply two times ... that's fine . Place the meat .. SKIN SIDE DOWN into the melted lard , turn up the heat to a true medium and cook slowly .. until the pork fat is melting away .. leaving this ROW of golden crispy skin strips . What you are doing now is ONLY cooking the fat and skin above the meat , you don't want the actual loin meat coming in contact with the hot lard. You may even have to pour off some of the rendered fat if it reaches up too high .

Once the shin is crispy , let rest 30 minutes , and then slather the meat of the pork and the underside where you will see the bones with the marinade . Place the marinating roast in a pan and refrigerate overnight until Thanksgiving morning .

Marinade Preparation:

Make two or three days before Thanksgiving. Place two cups of oil in a small saucepan, over medium heat add the chopped shallot and garlic and the lemongrass. " Sweat " until sweet but not colored . Add all the spices: curry , ginger , cardamom , saffron and coriander ... cook 5 more minutes , remove form heat . Meanwhile , melt the block of sugar in 1/2 cup of water .. when the sugar is melted add to your spiced oil ... when all has returned to room temperature , add the juice of 2 limes and the sliced scallions and the roughly chopped cilantro . Do not put this marinade on the crisp skin ... only on the meat and underside .

Day Three -- Thanksgiving Day:

Place the pork rack (or racks) in a roasting pan and put into a 325 degree oven ( I always scatter the bottom of the pan with sliced onions as they make your home smell so wonderful ) . Roast until a meat thermometer reaches 155 degrees , when plunged into the center of the meat without touching the bones . Remove from oven and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes . The dripping in the roasting pan will make the best sauce because of the sugarcane marinade . Make the same as you would any turkey gravy . Pork makes the best sauce !! Slice into 1/2 inch slices right through the skin all the way down to the bones and serve to your hungry guests. You will know why this breed of pig is so spectacular !! Enjoy !!! This year , I will be serving this pork with some large chanterelle mushrooms sauteed in olive oil and butter with garlic and parsley and deglazed with Amontillado Sherry ... and I will scatter the pork with a dice of Quince paste. YUM !!!

Gratin of New England's Hubbard Squash Gnocchi with Pear Mostarda*

*and a few shavings of white truffle, if you're feeling flush.

Serves 4 (double or triple for Thanksgiving)

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