It was a hot and humid market day this Saturday. Sweat was dripping off our faces as we filled our stall and waited on customers. I had just wished a customer a happy Labor Day weekend, when my neighbor Scott muttered under his breath, “For us it’s a day of labor.” This is often true when it comes to farming. Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day are not holidays but days of seasonal labor. The calendar runs different for us. Yet we had just finished our heirloom tomato season, and that meant one thing to us: slowing down. Because of what we have chosen to grow, we turn a corner after tomatoes. This meant although we would be working on Monday, we could afford to take a day off on Sunday. When the heat wave also broke, we woke up in excellent moods. After lingering over morning coffee, we walked the farm. Val decided to pick and shell some fresh cannellini beans for us to freeze, while I went back to the house to continue what I had started last night.
I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up pork-n-beans was basically beans and wienies. Thank goodness times have changed. These days when I think of pork and beans I think of black beans and a savory Cuban pork-shoulder roast. We grew 6 varieties of shelling beans this year, Black Turtle being one of them. We are just beginning to harvest some of them, so in this case I used dried black beans. These were soaked in water overnight. The roast was marinating in the refrigerator in a rub of salt, cumin and garlic, along with the juices of fresh lemons and limes. The beans would be made into a light and fresh corn, bean and sweet pepper salad. This would be a great end-of-summer accompaniment to the pork shoulder roast.
Black Bean and Corn Salad:
- 2 cups cooked black beans (1 cup dried, soaked overnight)
- 2 cups fresh or frozen corn (about 4 ears if fresh)
- 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
- 1 cup red sweet pepper, chopped (we used Bull’s Horn)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Place the black beans and their soaking water in a heavy pan with a tight-fitting lid. Add enough water to cover the beans by one inch. To this add two cloves of garlic and one bay leaf. Bring to a boil uncovered, then boil for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- When beans area done, drain and rinse under cold water. Place in large bowl and set aside.
- Blanch fresh corn in boiling water for 3 minutes, then put in ice water. Cut kernels off cob to measure. If using frozen corn, just thaw and measure. Add to beans.
- Seed and chop sweet pepper. Mince fresh cilantro and add to bowl.
- Chop onion and add to bowl. Chill salad at least 2 hours before dressing.
- Toast cumin seeds by placing them in dry skillet on medium heat until they darken in color, being careful not to burn. Place cooled seeds in spice or coffee mill and grind.
- Mix lime juice, oil, cumin and salt together. Dress salad.
Marinated Cuban Pork Shoulder:
- 3-4 lb pork shoulder roast
- 6 garlic cloves, 4 for rub and 2 slivered for roast
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 medium yellow onion, sliced thinly
- Juice from 3 limes and 3 lemons
- To prepare roast to marinade: Cut small slits over surface and push in slivers of garlic. Next in stick processor or mortal and pestal, place salt, oregano, cumin and garlic cloves together and combine into a paste. Rub over entire roast and place in glass or pottery dish. Pour lime and lemon juice that have been mixed together over roast. Marinate overnight, turning occasionally before and in the morning.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove roast from marinate, reserving marinade. Pat dry and place fat side down in Dutch oven. Sprinkle onion slices over roast. Roast for 30 minutes, uncovered.
- Meanwhile, place marinate in saucepan and boil gently for 10 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, turn heat down to 325 degrees. Drizzle a spoonful of marinade on roast and cover. Bake for 2 1/2 hours, drizzling a spoonful of marinade every 30 minutes.
- Let roast rest for 15 minutes. Don’t attempt to cut slices, but pull pieces off gently and arrange on platter. Spoon some of the cooking juices over roast. Pass extra juices at table to spoon on plates.
If you have any leftovers, pull pork for using in a quesadillas. You’ll love it!