I have noticed that when moods are cranky, emotions are high or anyone is out of sorts, sitting down to a candlelight table with soothing music and good food almost always diffuses the stressful hearts. We are all made to love to eat. it is a part of the blessing and grace of God's design. When you learn this secret, you will be pleasing your family and friends' palates while nourishing their bodies and soothing their emotions. We only have to observe babies, suckling at a mama's breast and cuddling close can often bring a tearful one to a happy as can be infant.
Feasting is a Clarkson tradition, and weekends seem prime time for wonderful meals and discussions around the table. Often, I gather our friends, their children, neighbors, or relatives over the holidays and I go to one of my most practiced company meals.
This is one I have used many times and it almost always pleases. (At least to those who still eat meat--I never had to worry about that until a few years ago!) We do pretty natural and organic food in general at our home, but whatever your own preferences, this is a hit with all ages.
Here's a family favorite I hope you'll enjoy!
Pork Roast a la Sally
Two pork loins (these are more tender and I usually buy them when they are on sale and put them in the freezer. A pork roast, as pictured, can also be used, but it must cook much longer in order to be tender.)
Mix together in a large bowl:
1-2 cups apple juice (depending on how big the loins are! I often double the recipe or triple if I am having a big crowd. It cooks ahead of time so is no trouble at the last moment.)
1 tablespoon of minced garlic or garlic paste
1 package onion soup mix
2-4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce according to taste
4 apples sliced thinly
2 onions sliced thinly
1/2 cup red wine, optional
1/2 -3/4 cup dried cherries according to preference (optional--some don't like this--but most of my family loves it mixed in with the onions and apples.)
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Stir the apple juice, garlic, soup mix and worcestershire sauce together in a crock pot or cast iron roasting pan, which I have come to love in the past few years. Place the pork loins or pork roast in the sauce. Cover the meat with apples and onions. Sprinkle the dried cherries over the top. Put lid on and cook slowly all day. Salt and pepper to taste.
The meat is so luscious and and I slow cook it until it literally falls apart. Always a hit for crowds or for my kids and so very easy to do. I make an easy gravy out of the juice that is left over. I have a great source for natural, organic pork, so though we don't have it often, it is a real treat.
I almost always use red potatoes lately as they have less of a sugar base when cooked. I also use a pressure cooker and do them in four-6- minutes. Add 1-2 teaspoons of condensed chicken bouillon (natural, no msg) when you drain the water from the potatoes and then you don't have to use as much butter. The bouillon gives it a rich taste. Salt and pepper to taste and a little butter and milk and whip away.
Steamed green beans
I love the green beans this time of year. Fresh is best, but there are frozen, thin beans that you can get at the grocery store. Steam over boiling water until just tender. While steaming, I sprinkle the beans with French herbs. When finished, I sprinkle lightly with sea salt and toss them in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle sliced almonds on top for a prettier dish. They taste fresh and melt in your mouth.
Since the children were little, we have often served sparkling white or red grape juice with this meal. And if you surround your roast with other favorite vegetables as shown above, it will be even more festive!
Enjoy a fall feast soon with your loved ones and they will remember it for a long time.
Recipes from The Lifegiving Table, by Sally Clarkson
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