Created by our Chef, Phillip Schaaf
Pumpkins have been highly celebrated in recent years and it seems that pumpkin season starts earlier each year! At the first hint of a cold snap, the local coffee shops start slinging pumpkin spice lattes. That’s only the beginning. As the season progresses, pumpkin has found its way into cookies, pies, breads and cheesecakes. The pumpkin craze in the world of sweets has grown to epic proportions. But pumpkin is actually a pretty versatile ingredient. Belonging to the squash family, pumpkin has a naturally high sugar content that lends to sweets, but it can add a lot of depth and flavor to a variety of savory dishes as well.
In this particular recipe, we are going to make a pumpkin jam that could be used for either sweet or savory applications. The jam would pair perfectly with a generously buttered croissant or slab of perfectly toasted sourdough, or it would accent this ancho chile and cocoa rubbed pork shoulder roast. This jam is full of flavor with it’s sweet and sour notes balancing out the rich and unctuous shoulder laden with deep notes of chile and chocolate. This is a perfect dish for any Fall gathering. The jam can be made while the pork is slowly roasting away. It requires very little active time in the kitchen, which means more time hanging out with friends and family.
Roast Rub Preparation
This is a really simple dish with a lot of complex flavors. The pork shoulder should be rubbed about 6-8 hours before cooking. It won’t hurt it to go overnight, and with only four ingredients to the rub, it isn’t too hard to throw it together real quick.
What You’ll Need
1 2 ½ to 3 ½ pound Grass Roots Forested Pork Shoulder Roast
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 T ancho chile powder
1 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T brown sugar or coconut sugar
Combine all dry ingredients thoroughly in a mixing bowl. Season the pork shoulder liberally on all sides with the rub. Refrigerate the pork for at least 6-8 hours before cooking. (If you have some rub leftover it can be stored in an airtight container for a month as long as it hasn’t been contaminated in any way. Always use a clean hand to handle your seasoning and the other hand to handle the raw product.)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Remove the pork from refrigeration and let it set at room temperature for a bit until the oven reaches the desired temperature. Place the pork roast in a dutch oven and use a couple of ribs of celery or a carrot halved lengthwise to raise the pork off of the bottom of the pan so that hot air can circulate under the roast as well. Place the pork in the oven and set a timer for 45 minutes.
When that first 45-minute timer goes off, it’s time to baste the roast. Using a brush or a spoon, baste some of the rendered fat and juices over the top of the roast. Repeat this again in 30 minutes, then again after that every 15 minutes until the pork roast begins to pull apart very easily. This will take about 2 ½ to 3 hours.
The jam will take a bit of time to cook down to the right consistency. This jam can be jarred and heat-sealed and put up for a later date, but it will keep in the refrigerator for about two weeks.
What You’ll Need
1 lb pumpkin, seeded, peeled, and cut into 1” cubes
4 C water and 3 C sugar
3 Tbsp rive vinegar or lemon juice
1 pod star anise and ½ stick of cinnamon
½ inch disc of fresh ginger, peeled
In a medium-sized, thick-bottomed saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a simmer until the sugar dissolves. Then add the pumpkin, spices, and vinegar or lemon juice. Let the pumpkin simmer for about an hour, until the syrup starts to thicken to the desired consistency.
Shop Grass Roots forested pork and get cooking!
Once the pork is done, remove from the oven and baste one last time. Let the pork shoulder rest for about 15 minutes before using the tines of two forks to pull the meat apart. Dress with the pumpkin jam and serve.