As much as I feel like I never get to see my friends lately, it seems like I’ve fallen into a lucky groove of dinner parties. Two weeks ago, I an old friend invited Santa Maria and me to a one, and we enjoyed great company and even better food. The hostess made dish with boiled potatoes, chicken breast, prunes, and an out-of-this-world, super delicious sauce, which got me to thinking.
I’m very happy with the cooking I do, but I generally forego a fancy sauce and instead rely on a basic technique and exceptional ingredients to make the meal as tasty as possible. Still, there are times—such as when hosting a dinner party—that a good sauce can elevate a dish from the ordinary to the extraordinary. My friend said she made the dish straight out of the “Silver Palate Cookbook,” and she was surprised that I didn’t own a copy.
The way that dish tasted, I think I should pick up a copy. But in the meantime, I have managed to improvise. Recently, I hosted a dinner party of my own, and I was making my old standby, pork shoulder with apple and sage. It’s a failsafe, delicious dish, but I’ve never been able to perfect the sauce, until now.
As I put the pork roast together, I increased the amount of apple, mixing two different types together for a nice visual effect, and when I put the roast in the oven, I poured a bit of white wine and water into the base of the small roasting pan. This way, as the roast cooked, and the fat from the pork dripped down into the pan, it would make its own sauce.
As the roast cooked, I was careful not to allow the bottom of the pan to dry out. Once or twice I added a bit more wine, and, sure enough, when I took the roast out of the oven, I had my sauce.
At serving time, I took the meat off the apples and put it on a cutting board. I poured the liquid and all the apples into a frying pan, and I reduced it a bit before spooning it over the slices of meat on each diner’s plate. Without any effort, I had that elusive, dinner-party-worthy, sauce.
Sage-and-Apple Pork Roast Recipe with White Wine Sauce
- 2 applew, washed, cored, and sliced
- 1 bunch sage, washed
- 4-6 cloves of garlic, to taste
- One 2-3 lb boneless pork roast
- Salt, to taste
- White wine
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Slice the garlic into thick pieces, and with a pointy knife, stab a bunch of holes in the top and sides of the pork roast. Put the garlic slices along with bits of sage into the holes.
Salt the meat.
Lay the apple slices on the bottom of a roasting pan (for a piece of meat this size, I use a small ceramic pan) in roughly the same area as the size of the pork roast.
Lay a few sage leaves over and under the slices.
Perch the pork roast on top of the apples.
Pour a mix of white wine and water into the pan so the bottom of it isn't dry.
Put the meat into the oven and roast for about 30-45 mintues. Make sure the pan doesn't dry out. You don't want anything to burn in the pan. Add more wine as you go along, if necessary.
After about 30 to 45 minutes, turn the heat down to 350, and continue to roast until the meat is 150 degrees internal, about an hour to an hour-and-a-half total.
Let the meat sit for ten minutes before slicing and serving.
Pour the apples, sage, and liquid into a frying pan, and reduce slighly on a high heat.
Pour a bit of the sauce over the meat, along with a few apples.