Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva is one full-bodied red wine that won't be butted out when served with the dish described below.With the last vestiges of winter quickly retreating, you still have some time to prepare meals that require full-bodied red wines and hearty appetites. Of course, you have many choices, but today I’ll give you a recipe for one of my all-time favorite cold-weather dishes. Ironically, as I write this, the sun is shining, flowers are beginning to pop out of the ground and the temperatures are in the mid 60’s. Oh well, you can always grill the sucker!
Remember the obnoxiously salacious dance a couple of decades back called “The Butt?” Well, I call this meal “Doin’ the Butt!” since the main ingredient is pork shoulder which is incongruously called the butt. This humble piece of pig meat is used to make sausages of all types as well as that American culinary staple – barbecue. Today, I’m going to share a recipe with you which involves brining and slow roasting a pork butt so that the meat literally falls off the bone You may wonder why I suggest taking the extra step of brining the meat. Well, brining not only moistens and tenderizes the meat, it also adds wonderful flavors throughout the entire roast...
1. First thing you’ll need to do is to buy a four- to six-pound pork butt with the bone in. These are usually pretty plentiful around this time of year and you may find them on sale for around $1.50 to $2 a pound. For the brine, you’ll need to combine one-half cup each of kosher salt and brown sugar, one bottle of dark beer, and three quarts of cold water in a large bowl. You may also use half a bottle of leftover wine (does anyone ever have any leftover?) or even apple juice or cider in place of the beer. Stir until the mixture is dissolved, and then either place the butt in the bowl or transfer to a gallon plastic bag. In either case the roast should be covered and allowed to absorb the brine for three hours.
2. After brining, pat the roast dry and rub all over with a combination of one tablespoon each of coarsely ground black pepper and chopped garlic, along with one teaspoon of freshly chopped rosemary. While yours truly is not deterred by cold temperatures and therefore would suggest using your outside grill, most of you will probably prefer to use an indoor oven. You can place the roast in an oven bag or a covered roasting pan and cook at 250 degrees for about five hours. If you decide to use your outside grill, cook the roast at a low temperature for about the same amount of time. If you’re using charcoal, keep the grill air vents only slightly open and cook it indirectly in a foil pan so you can baste the drippings. You will need to replenish the fire with a few charcoal briquettes from time to time and grill for about four hours.
3. I prefer to accompany this dish with a potato and onion casserole. Thinly slice six medium sized Yukon Gold potatoes along with two large onions and combine in a casserole dish with one-half cup of extra virgin olive oil. To this add a tablespoon of coarsely ground black pepper, a tablespoon of kosher salt and one cup of grated parmesan cheese. Cover the dish and bake for about 75 minutes in a 375 degrees oven.WINE PAIRINGS: There are myriad red wines that are just dying to “do the butt” with this dish, and here are some suggestions for your sipping pleasure: Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva ($20); The Stump Jump ($13 - Aussie blend of Shiraz, Mourvedre and Grenache); 2005 El Portillo Malbec ($11); and the 2003 Bogle Petite Sirah ($12).