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Rach shares her holiday roast, and it's glorious! She slathers a fragrant paste of ginger, garlic, prunes and spices on boneless pork shoulder (you can sub lamb) and slow-cooks it on a bed of sliced onions, dried figs, red wine and stock. The tender, juicy meat gets an extra boost of flavor from a mixed herb, pistachio and citrus zest gremolata. For side dishes, Rach suggests dark greens sauteed in olive oil with garlic and lemon; roasted carrots and leeks; and, for a starch, mashed potatoes or polenta.  

John created this Cranberry Negroni to kick off the special meal. 


For the Slather Paste:
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, grated or pasted
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 small red onion
  • 6 pitted prunes, softened in hot water 15 minutes and drained
  • 1 teaspoon smoked cinnamon or cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3 tablespoons cider or sherry vinegar
  • About 1/3 cup EVOO
For the Roast:
  • One 4 to 4 ½-pound pork or lamb shoulder with very thin fat cap
  • Salt and pepper
For the Gremolata:
  • 1 cup packed dill, parsley, mint and chives
  • ½ cup toasted pistachios and/or pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon zest of lemon and/or orange 
For Roasting:
  • 2 onions, cut into 6 wedges each
  • 20 soft dried figs, halved
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cups bone stock, warmed and whisked with 2 tablespoons demi-glace
  • A handful of fresh thyme sprigs
  • A couple bay leaves


Serves: 6 to 8


For the slather paste, combine ingredients in food processor. Form a paste by pulsing several times.     

For the roast, pierce meat all over with small slits using sharp small knife. Season liberally with salt and pepper, slather with paste and refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temp 1 hour before cooking.   

For the gremolata, finely chop herbs, nuts and zest together.  

To roast, preheat oven to 400°F, with rack at center. 

In a large Dutch oven, large cast-iron pan or roasting pan, arrange the onions and dried figs with red wine, about 2 cups warm bone stock with demi-glace and bundle of thyme and bay. 

Rachael Ray RUST-RESISTANT™ Cast Iron Skillet

Rachael Ray RUST-RESISTANT™ Cast Iron Skillet

Rachael Ray

Top with meat and roast 45 minutes, then cover with lid or 2 layers of heavy-duty foil and roast 3 hours until very tender. Let stand 30 minutes and serve with gremolata and sides of choice.