Oh, pork, how I love you, let me count the ways.
Dr. Chop told me that I needed to get back on the pork bandwagon, and as Strategery suggested last week this time of year calls out for good, old fashioned, roasts, stews and braises. Tonight, I went with an apple cider braised pork shoulder with caramelized onions, wilted kale (with bacon(!)), and roasted sweet potatoes. I'm really a fan of pork fat. Which is probably a problem for my waistline, but, what the hell, I'd rather eat well and die young than grow old and have culinary regrets.
A pork shoulder roast - 3-4 lbs (ish) bone in preferable.
3/4 cup unfiltered apple cider
1 large yellow onion sliced
2 cloves garlic
a tablespoon or so of oil
spice rub of your choice, I go with 1 part salt, 1 part black pepper, 1 part red chili powder, 1 part brown sugar, 1 part cumin, garlic powder to taste
You can do this in a dutch oven, but I prefer to do the heavy lifting in the crock pot. Rub the meat with spice mixture the night before you intend to cook. Remove excess fat and pierce the roast in several places. Slice the garlic into slivers and place them into the holes you have pierced into the roast. Add the oil to a pan over medium high heat, and brown the roast on all sides. As you brown the last side add the sliced onions to the pan. Once the onion has softened and is turning transparent dump the whole works into the crock pot and add the apple cider. Cook on medium / low for 3-5 hours until the bone falls out and the meat shreds without effort. Once the meat is done I defat the pan juice, shred the roast, and crisp it up in the cast iron skillet adding the pan juice at the last minute to loosen the fond from the bottom of the pan.  I had way more sauce than I expected. After removing the fat I added the sauce to the pan and had to reduce by boiling, not really a problem, just thought you should know.
Slice up a couple pieces of bacon, fry the bits and remove once they are done to your crispiness taste, and drain all but about a tablespoon of the fat from the pan. Wilt the kale over medium high heat by adding half the bunch and tossing in the bacon fat, and the other second half with a splash of water when the first half is nearly wilted. Cook till the whole mess looks like it's done, and then add the bacon bits back into the pan.  this is the first time I've tried to wilt kale, and let me tell you... This is one hardy green. I needed way more heat than I though necessary and a fair bit more water than the swiss chard, just fyi
Slice up the sweet potato and place them in a roasting pan. I prefer my sweet potato on the savory side, so I season them with chili powder, black pepper, and salt, but you can also do this on the sweet side with a little brown sugar (or sugar in the raw) or honey (although, typing this out makes me slightly enraged, just do it the savory way). I add a bit of the pan sauce and bacon fat to them, toss, and roast them at 400˚ until they're done.
Doc, enough aesthetic for you?