Cooking / Food

Maxing Out the Oven

Pork Roast

Pork Roast with Sides

I realized earlier this week after commenting that I’d maxed out my oven for the first time in this house that I was wrong. I could have adjusted the racks and put a bit more in there. But I didn’t need to. Everything fit, and there was nothing on the stovetop for this meal, which was lovely as I was doing other things, and could pretty much set the timer and walk away for an hour at a time.

I love my slowcooker, and it’s gotten a workout this week too, but this meal was the ultimate in cold winter’s evening comfort food. Roasted carrots, baked potatoes, and a pork roast with spice rub and mushrooms tucked around it.

Of all of them, I think the carrots took longest, and properly, ought to have been done separately, but I neither have, nor need (although it was a dream for years) two ovens in this house.

Roasted Carrots

  • 3 lbs carrots, scrubbed, cut into approx 1″ lengths.
  • a few dollops of honey (I think about 1 1/2 tbsp)
  • olive oil
  • red wine vinegar (you could use any kind, it may subtly affect the flavor)

On my jelly-roll pan, I drizzled the olive oil, dumped the carrots in and shuffled them around to pick up some oil and flatten out to a single layer. I drizzled on some vinegar (not a lot. Probably a tablespoon at most) and a few lumps of my crystallized honey, shook it around a little (the dog won’t eat raw carrot, but she will run over to hang out by your feet and nose the piece you set flying curiously), and slid it into the 350 deg oven. Every thirty minutes or so one of us shook the pan a little to coat the carrots. Roasting veggies is generally better done at a higher temperature, closer to 400, but since I was doing the pork and potatoes in the same oven I started here, and after 90 minutes I raised the temp to 400 for 30 min.

Baked Potatoes

Really complicated. Seriously, guys?

  • Potatoes (I favor the big russet bakers)
  • olive oil (anything will do, rub bacon grease on if you like)

I threw three potatoes in a glass (silicon, heh) pie plate, drizzled some olive oil on, rubbed it all over the skins with my hands, and then poked them with a fork a couple of times. They were nicely done and crispy on the outside by the time I pulled them out after about 2 hours baking.

Pork Roast

Pork roasts are about as versatile as you can imagine. I’ve injected, rubbed, brined, I don’t even remember what all. This one was a simple spice rub.

  • about 1/4 pork loin, fat side up.
  • Garlic Powder
  • ground pepper
  • paprika (not the flavourless American kind. Find the Hungarian sort)
  • Thyme leaves
  • Dill seeds (um, this was on a whim. I can’t say if they added anything. I just have a ton of them right now)
  • kosher salt
  • small whole mushrooms (I pull the stem off if it’s long)

I was using a smallish pan for this. I drizzled olive oil in the bottom, and then added the roast, turning it fully over to coat with oil. I had previously mixed the dry spices in a small bowl, and now I rubbed them over all the exposed surface of the roast, finally making sure the fat layer was in the up position. I tucked the mushrooms around the edges, and popped the whole thing into the oven. I’d had the oven set at 350, and this baked for about an hour and 15 min at that temp, then another 30 at the 400 deg for finishing off the carrots. This also crisped and rendered the fat layer nicely.

Spices and Beer

Cooking supplies: tower o’ spices and beverages.

I’ll be putting the leftovers, the collected drippings from the roast, and the pork cubed, into the slowcooker soon, along with the collected stock from making pulled pork (I save, bag, freeze, and pull that out when needed) and a handful or two of barley and even more mushrooms (we ate the roasted ones!), carrots (ate most of the roasted ones), and sauteed onion. This will make a really nice pork stew. I think I’ll make a loaf of bread for that… At least I know what’s for dinner tonight!

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5 thoughts on “Maxing Out the Oven

    • Thanks! Same to you! We will be traveling to KY the weekend after Thanksgiving, but probably won’t do anything special here unless I get a wild hare to cook fancy (and it won’t be turkey, with only two of us!).

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  1. I can remember Betsy and I doing the spring tour of homes one year here in KC and touring some multi-million dollar new homes, when we heard some lady commeting “I could never live in a house without two ovens.”

    We just looked at each other and rolled out eyes.

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