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Take one pork roast, create four separate meals

By Joe Gray and Cindy Dampier
Chicago Tribune
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/04/29/15/24/1r3mGx.Em.138.jpeg|316
    BILL HOGAN - CHICAGO TRIBUNE
    If you start with a roasted pork shoulder, you can make it into four dishes.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/04/29/15/24/Nb2Sn.Em.138.jpeg|338
    BILL HOGAN - CHICAGO TRIBUNE
    On the first day, serve slices of roast pork with vegetables.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/04/29/15/24/aCFfr.Em.138.jpeg|345
    BILL HOGAN - CHICAGO TRIBUNE
    Good to the last drop: Use the bone from the pork to make stock for a soup with white beans and pork.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/04/29/15/23/AcYA9.Em.138.jpeg|300
    BILL HOGAN - CHICAGO TRIBUNE
    Strips of roast pork get turned into a stir-fry with bok choy.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/04/29/15/24/78cf3.Em.138.jpeg|308
    BILL HOGAN - CHICAGO TRIBUNE
    Some of the pork gets turned into tacos with roasted butternut squash.

More Information

  • Day 2: Pork and Bok Choy Stir-Fry

    1/4 cup hoisin sauce

    1 tablespoon soy cause

    2 tablespoons vegetable oil

    2 cloves minced garlic

    2 teaspoons minced or grated fresh ginger

    2 medium heads bok choy, cut in 1-inch pieces

    3 cups (about 1 pound) cooked pork, cut in thin strips

    Half an orange

    Cooked brown or white rice

    Cilantro (optional; garnish)

    STIR hoisin sauce and soy sauce together in a small bowl; set aside.

    HEAT oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat; add garlic and ginger. Stir-fry 20 seconds. Add bok choy; stir-fry until beginning to soften.

    REDUCE heat to low. Add the hoisin-soy mixture and pork. Simmer just until heated through; squeeze orange half over the stir-fry. Serve over rice garnished with cilantro, if you like.


  • Day 3: Pork and Roasted Squash Tacos

    About 2 cups butternut squash cubes

    1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil

    2 cups shredded pork

    About 1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth

    3 to 4 tablespoons shredded firm white cheese, such as chihuahua or Monterey Jack

    8 corn or flour tortillas

    Toppings: Toasted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds), pickled onions or thin raw onion slices, crumbled queso fresco and tomatillo salsa

    TOSS butternut squash cubes with oil, spread on a baking sheet and roast in a 375-degree oven about 20 minutes, or until soft and browned in spots.

    PLACE pork and broth in a small saucepan over medium heat until warmed through.

    WARM tortillas on a griddle or in a cast-iron skillet. Build the tacos with shredded chihuahua cheese, shredded pork and squash. Top with toasted pepitas, pickled or raw onion, queso fresco and salsa.


  • Day 4: White Bean and Pork Soup

    Bone from cooked pork shoulder

    1 1/2 onions, divided

    2 carrots, divided

    1 rib celery

    Cold water

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    Salt and red pepper flakes, to taste

    2 cups shredded or cubed cooked pork

    2 cups cooked white beans (or 2 14-ounce cans, drained and rinsed)

    Fresh parsley (optional; garnish)

    PLACE the shoulder bone, half an onion, 1 carrot and 1 rib celery, each cut in half, in a saucepan. Add cold water to cover. Heat to a simmer; cook 1 hour. Discard the bone and vegetables; strain the soup through a fine mesh strainer.

    HEAT olive oil in a Dutch oven; add 1 onion, chopped, and 1 carrot, chopped. Season with salt and red pepper flakes. Cook until softened. Add shredded or cubed pork, white beans and enough of the homemade broth to cover.

    SIMMER until the pork and beans are heated through. Taste for seasoning. Mash the beans a little in the saucepan with a potato masher to thicken the soup. Garnish with parsley.


  • Day 1: Roast Pork Shoulder

    1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

    1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

    1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground

    1 (6-pound) bone-in pork shoulder roast

    2 tablespoons canola oil

    4 cups water, plus more if needed

    HEAT oven to 325 degrees. Mix kosher salt, pepper and cumin. Rub all over the roast, pressing the seasonings into the meat.

    HEAT oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the pork; brown on all sides. Transfer the pork to a rack inside a roasting pan just large enough to hold it. Pour water into pan. Roast until very tender, 2 to 3 hours. (Add more water to the pan if it becomes dry near the end.)

    REMOVE roast from the oven. Let stand, covered, about 20 minutes. Cut slices for dinner; serve with vegetables and starch of your choice.

    PULL the remaining pork into shreds or cut into thick slices. Portion the pork into three sealable containers, saving the bone for broth. Refrigerate.



It’s a familiar kitchen economy strategy: Roast a chicken (or buy a rotisserie bird at the supermarket), then turn it into three meals.

You can follow that same approach with other meats, though. The best of these, in our thinking, is a pork roast, specifically the shoulder, with rich texture thanks to its generous fat.

Often called a Boston butt or butt roast, a pork shoulder roast can be bought boneless or bone-in. They can be quite large (8 pounds) or small (2 pounds). We like a 6-pound bone-in roast. It fits into a large Dutch oven for browning and yields plenty of meat to last several meals.

To see what we could do with a single cut of meat, we started with a pork shoulder, roasted it, then broke it down into four meals, each designed to feed a family of four. Our 6-pound roast yielded just under 4 1/2 pounds of cooked meat (minus the bone).

For the first night, we served slices of pork shoulder and figured everyone might want more than a standard 4-ounce serving. That still left plenty for more meals.

You can go many ways, of course. A pasta dish, a Cuban sandwich, pulled pork. We picked a stir-fry, tacos and, finally, a soup, which utilized the reserved bone for a broth and required less of the pork than the other meals.

A bonus is that after the first meal, the cooking and assembly of the other dishes is quick – another economy we love.

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