Slow Roasted Pork with Creamy Apple Gravy

Colder weather has finally hit Dallas! I missed the start of it because I was hanging out in 90-degree Singapore (sorry for the lack of posting), but I stepped off the plane this weekend into a crisp 40 degrees and it felt great.  For my WI/IL/MN friends, November is the start of a long and bone chilling miserable winter (at least that's how I remember it). In Texas, it’s really the start of a delicious cooking season. The cold weather is so fleeting that you really get to enjoy its comforts in all their glory.  And you really have to jump right into it because grilling season comes back before you know it.  Slow roasted meats, stews, gravy, casseroles….I love it all.

So this past weekend I was craving a pork shoulder. And it occurred to me that I had only eaten a slow roasted pork shoulder in the form of a pulled pork taco. Why?? I don't know! I love the flavor of the meat and the way it falls apart in the oven.  I decided to cook it just a tad less so that it wasn't totally dissolved into a pulled pork, and I braised it in an apple juice based broth, then added a touch of cream.  Ohhhhh, it made the house smell so good and the taste was even better - the pork is so tender and literally melts in your mouth. Putting this on the favorites list.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Pat the pork dry, then season with plenty of salt, pepper, and brown sugar (probably about 2-3 tablespoons brown sugar).  Coat with flour (about 1/4 cup).  Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Brown the pork shoulder on all sides, then reduce the heat to low.  Add the apple juice, beef broth (enough to cover about 3/4 of the meat), Worcestershire, bay leaf and thyme.  Add in one carrot and 1 onion to help flavor the broth (you'll add the rest later so they don't get overcooked).  Bring the sauce to a simmer, then cover tightly and place the pot in the oven.  After two hours, add in the remaining carrots, onions, mushrooms, and more apple juice if necessary. Cook for about one hour more (three to three and a half hours).  Remove the pot from the oven, and increase the heat to 400.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat and vegetables to a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Carve the meat into large delicious looking chunks (6-8 pieces).  Drizzle with enough sauce to cover the bottom of the baking sheet.  Place the meat/veggies the oven, and cook for about 10 minutes to brown the meat (no longer or you will begin to dry out the meat).  Meanwhile, place the remaining sauce over high heat on the stove.  Skim off any excess fat, and remove the bay leaf and thyme.  Whisk together the flour and water, then stir into the sauce and allow to thicken.  Reduce the heat to low, and mix in the half and half. Serve the meat and veggies over mashed potatoes and drizzle with LOTS OF SAUCE.  Loved loved loved this.