It’s difficult to translate pork rack. Honestly, it’s impossible, so I’ll just leave that to someone who knows. I will stop at describing the piece of meat in the photos below as being pork chop with ribs (this cut is also used on lamb or beef, more often there than here). Plenty of meat, plenty of bone, plenty of fat tenderized meat next to the bone. It’s easy to cook, you practically don’t have to do anything as long as you’re familiar with the roasting time or if you have a meat thermometer (it helps especially for beef and lamb, pork meat has no problems if you cook it longer, sometimes it’s even recommended).
If you have a skilled and understanding butcher, ask him to cut the meat as in the photo (a printed version might help). Actually, simply ask him and if he’s not very understanding, ultimately the demand is the mechanism leading to diverse offers on the market. In Bucharest, you can buy meat cut this way at Mega Image Concept Store, and perhaps somewhere else. In Cluj, you can find understanding and good will at the Moldovan butcher shops (I know the owner is training his people to be open and if they don’t have something right now, if you ask them they will get it). Therefore, let’s proceed. We have the meat, how do we do this?
The meat should come already tied. If it doesn’t, tie it yourselves with kitchen twine or with hemp twine soaked in oil. The idea is to pull the meat between the ribs downwards, without insisting too much, just enough to be kept in its place.
Regarding seasoning, things are simple. Mix a diced (not powdered) dry hot pepper with a teaspoon of coriander seeds, a teaspoon of cumin seeds, a teaspoon of coarse salt, half a teaspoon of peppercorn. Fry them in a skillet without oil until they start fuming. Crush them in a mortar and thoroughly rub the meat with the mixture.
As accompaniment to the meat use whatever vegetables you like. I chose celery, parsnip, leek, carrot and eggplant. Well washed, cut into pretty large pieces, sprinkled with salt and placed in the pot, under and next to the meat. The pot I used was a cocotte (a massive cast iron pot with a lid). You can also use a deep tray that you can wrap with aluminum foil or a Jena container.
It’s important for the pot to be covered well, to lose as little liquid as possible. Start roasting at 150 degrees Celsius. Continue for an hour and a half. Uncover the pot, drain the accumulated liquid (you will use it to splash the meat) and roast for another hour at 180 degrees Celsius, splashing the meat every now and then with the drained sauce.
The meat has to be tender, the crust should have a deep color (don’t worry, it’s not going to get burned), the vegetables should be firm despite the time they spent in the oven (if you put onion and garlic, these will soften, as it will happen with leek, broccoli, cauliflower or cabbage, but root vegetables remain rather firm). You can eat them as such or you can smash them and mix them.
By the end of the day, I didn’t have enough light to take pictures. I hope you will use them anyway. That’s all for today. Stay healthy.
And since I won’t post anything until the 27th, I wish you a merry Christmas. Be kind and believe in miracles.
Special thanks to
Oana Bodnariuc, Authorized Translator