Pulled Pork with Onion, Fig, Thyme Jam on Sweet Potato Molasses Rolls

The saving grace to my Edible Schoolyard evening for the Elmwood Garden Club was preparing all the food in advance. With a day job, there just isn’t a way to get it all done without lots of planning and preparation. My menu was planned around what could be cooked in advance and heated just before the meeting. Homemade Pulled Pork is the perfect dish for this scenario – you can literally cook it over night and reheat it several times before anyone would notice. I also made the Onion, Fig and Thyme jam a couple of days before and reheated it before serving. The sweetness of the onion jam was a great compliment to the savory and rich apple chutney pulled pork. I adapted both recipes to things I had on hand or were in season – apple chutney in the pantry and figs just going out of season in North Carolina.

I served the Pulled Pork and Onion Jam on Anna Mae’s Sweet Potato Molasses Rolls that are made right here in Greensboro and sold in the freezer section of both The Fresh Market and Lowe’s Foods. Shana, the founder, head baker & business women, behind Anna Mae’s generously donated the rolls for the Edible Schoolyard evening. I keep wanting to call them “Sweet Anna Mae’s” because that is exactly what she and the business are – so sweet. Anyway, I’m planning on getting into her kitchen at next week and reporting more about her. So, stay tuned. Until then, make this dish and go buy some of her delicious rolls – you have no excuse if you are in the Southeast! I think they would be the perfect snack before trick-or-treating this weekend.

Apple Chutney Pulled Pork

  • 9 pound (less or more depending on the crowd) of pork shoulder (aka Boston Butt)
  • 1 small jar of apple chutney
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 4 jalapenos, diced (feel free to adapt for personal heat levels)
  • 2 small red onions, chopped
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place chopped onions and jalapenos in the bottom of a large roasting pan. Place the pork shoulder on top of the peppers and onions. Season liberally with cumin, salt and pepper. Top with apple chutney.

Cook the meat for 6 to 8 hours – or until falling apart. If you trust your oven (and have adequate fire and carbon monoxide alarms), just pop it in the oven at bedtime and it will be done in the morning. Pull the meat apart with two forks or two clean hands.

Quick Onion, Thyme and Fig Jam

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 medium sweet onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 roasted garlic clove, mashed
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 jar of fig preserves

Melt the butter and olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add the onions, thyme, bay leaf, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and a few cracks of pepper. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Add the vinegar and preserves and cook, stirring until thick, brown and sticky (about 30 to 45 minutes). Transfer jam to a bowl and let cool. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Can be refrigerated for a few days; return to room temperature before serving.

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