When hosting a dinner party for 20 people, the last thing you want to do is end up in the kitchen cooking while everyone else is having fun. Let’s back up. This is the first time I hosted a dinner party for 20 people.
Jason’s 30th birthday obviously deserved 3 distinct celebrations–one for each decade. Last weekend, we got to enjoy Harvest’s Bourbon Dinner which required absolutely no planning and/or cooking on our part. On Wednesday, I surprised Jason with his fantasy meal. And then this Saturday, we hosted both sides of the family for dinner and a very belated house warming party.
When planning the menu for this affair, I knew I wanted a protein that could be shoved in the oven hours ahead of time and not require much attention. The requirements for the sides were that they could be made ahead of time and reheat nicely. And I outsourced all the appetizers to guests.
Those guidelines led me to this: slow roasted pork shoulder with mustard and sage, bacon fat white beans, roasted potatoes, ratatouille, and ginger garlic green beans.
You may recognize the ratatouille (excuse the embarrassingly bad photo) and ginger garlic green beans from previous posts. The bacon fat white beans and roasted potatoes are exactly as they sound – no recipe needed. But the slow roasted pork shoulder, now that was the star of the show. And since I’d never cooked a piece of meat this big before in my life, gave me enough anxiety to help keep this party interesting.
- 9 lbs bone-in pork shoulder
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup dijon mustard
- ½ cup sage, chopped
- 2 tablespoons dried marjoram
- 8 cloves garlic, chopped
- Preheat oven to 325.
- Place meat on a rack in a roasting pan, fat side up. Season with salt and pepper and rub into top and sides of roast.
- Combine mustard, sage, marjoram, and garlic in a small bowl. Rub onto meat, getting it into all the crevices until completely covered.
- Roast meat for 6-7 hours, checking every hour and basting with juices. If it starts to get dry, cover with foil and continue to cook.
- Before serving, gently cut or shred meat off the bone. It should fall off quite nicely.
recipe adapted from February’s issue of Bon Appetit.