Charlie Abowd: A Christmas (or New Year’s) dinner that works
December 5, 2012
Amazing how the holiday season is already upon us. I am left to wonder where the past year — one that brought many changes, has gone?That said, this is a delightful time of year bringing family and friends together. And with Thanksgiving dinner 2012 behind us — and it was fantastic. We spent it with our son Eric and daughter-in-law Patrice who made creamy, buttery, cheesy crispy potato casserole. Always a show stopper. And Karen turned out beautiful, heirloom pumpkin pies, always a slice of heaven.So now we turn our eye toward the rest of the season. Here is an idea for a holiday dinner that works whether you’re sitting down for Christmas, New Year’s, or simply hosting a gathering of family and friends in the spirit of the season.The roast pork and butternut squash chutney will be a huge success. One of the things I enjoy most and which adds to the unique flavors of these recipes, is the use of local produce. We’ll be using Peri & Sons Farms sweet onions in the chutney.How are you going to find these products? That’s an interesting question. Peri & Sons is, if not the largest onion producer in the country, one of them. It is probably easier to buy their onions in New York City than Northern Nevada. You would think you could find these Yerington jewels anywhere in the local markets. Their organic butternut squash and onions are consistently in stock at Raley’s.Hungry Mother Organics in Minden are another great source for local produce. They have an on-site shop and new winter hours and have both squash and onions available. For more information, visit http://www.hungrymotherorganics.com or call 775-267-3084. Other great resources for buying organic include Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.When shopping for your meal, I encourage you to buy organic or minimally natural pork rib roast. If you buy at Butler’s (in my opinion, the only real butcher shop in Carson City), they will be glad to French trim the roast. I’m certain your local grocery store would also be happy to do this. The French trim gives a nice presentation at the table.When serving the pork roast, slice down the side of the bone. This makes portion control easier (one eight-rib roast serves eight). For a larger gathering use the 16-rib roast, and have it tied into a crown, which makes a nice center area to place your chutney.For the wine selection, I recommend Summerland Vineyard Pinot Noir 2005, from Santa Barbara County, or a Riesling such as Dr. Loosen Sptlese “Wehlener Sonnenuhr” Mosel-Saar-Ruwaer, Germany. Visit Ben’s Liquor or Aloha Wine & Spirits for these selections, or others they recommend.Karen and I wish you and yours the very best through the season and into the new year. Show your love by adopting a family through one of the many programs in the community (Friends in Service Helping, Angel Tree at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada, Ron Wood Family Resource Center, etc.) or one of our local churches. You don’t have to look far.As always, enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!And Merry Christmas, Mom! Charlie’s Citrus Pork Rib RoastOrange zest from 2 oranges (please do not buy green oranges)1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped2 tablespoons orange marmalade1⁄2 tablespoon kosher salt1⁄2 tablespoon fresh ground pepper1 pork rib roast (eight ribs, approximately four to five pounds)1⁄2 cup orange juice from the oranges used for zestMix orange zest and next four ingredients together in a small bowl and then rub over the roast. Make sure you pat the roast dry before adding the marmalade mixture.Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Place roast in a roasting pan and place in oven for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 325 degrees. Cook about 40 minutes.I like my pork roast to have a temperature of 140 to 145 degrees, which is about medium. If you prefer it medium-well, cook it until it reaches a temperature of 165 to 170 degrees. After 20 minutes of this cooking time, pour orange juice over the roast and continue to cook.To make sauce or gravy:1⁄2 stick of butter1⁄2 cup flour1 cup chicken broth (low sodium, organic), hot1⁄2 cup orange juice, hotDrippings from roast, hotSalt and pepper to tasteMelt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and mix well with a wire whisk until it starts to bubble. Slowly add the hot chicken broth, orange juice and drippings. Add just enough to get a consistency of a good smooth gravy. You may or may not have to use all the liquid. Season to taste with salt and pepper.Please note: It is important the stock and juice are hot. Adding them while cold is what brings lumps to your gravy or sauce. Because measuring flour is an inexact science and because of the consistency and denseness of the flour, it is very important that in the final stage of gravy/sauce making you pay close attention to these instructions. If you have used all of the liquid and the gravy/sauce is still too thick, use more hot chicken broth or hot water.As an interesting side note — you can brine the pork roast just as you do a turkey. Use the same solution but omit the sage. 3⁄4 cup kosher salt3⁄4 cup brown sugar1 tablespoon cinnamon12 whole cloves3 oranges, quartered4 cups maple syrup4 cups apple juiceAdd enough cold water to cover roast in large stock pot.When you make the brine, I recommend you dissolve the salt and brown sugar in the apple juice on the stove over medium heat. Heat just until they are dissolved and then add a little ice to bring the temperature back to cold.Put this mixture and the remaining ingredients in a pot large enough to hold your roast and add enough water to totally immerse it. After it has sat 24 hours, rinse and pat dry. It is now ready to prepare for roasting.Sweet Onion Butternut Squash Chutney1⁄2 cup olive oil (does not have to be extra virgin)1⁄2 cup butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch dice2 organic carrots or 1⁄4 cup finely diced1 tablespoon sweet butter1 cup sweet Peri & Sons yellow onions1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced (use two if you want it spicy)2 tablespoons brown sugar2 tablespoons apple juice, organic1⁄4 bunch fresh mint or approximately 20 large leaves washed dried and finely chopped1⁄2 tablespoon allspice1 tablespoon sherry vinegarSalt and fresh ground pepper to tasteIn a 6-inch pan, heat olive oil over medium-low heat and add the squash. Cook for five minutes until slightly brown. Then add the carrots and cook another 10 minutes. Drain the oil from the pan, adding the butter and onions. Slowly cook until they start to turn golden to dark brown. At this point, add the peppers, brown sugar and 1 tablespoon apple juice. Stir constantly at least 15 minutes on low heat. The mixture should be bubbling at a very mild, slow pace.When fully cooked and almost dry (reduced) remove from heat and set aside and cool for 30 minutes. Place it in a food processor and add mint, allspice, remainder of the apple juice and sherry vinegar. Give the processor five, very quick pulses. This should not be a puree. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.• Chef Charlie Abowd co-owns Caf at Adele’s with his wife Karen, who is also president of The Greenhouse Project, interior designer and Carson City Supervisor. Caf at Adele’s, located at 1112 N. Carson St., Carson City. For reservations call 775-882-3353. For more information, visit http://www.AdelesRestaurantAndLounge.com.