This all started because Amaya and I were watching Survivor Africa (Season 3). During one of the reward challenges, the survivors were bidding on food items, one of which was a dish of fried chicken and mashed potatoes. They didn't really show the food, it was more the contestants reactions to eating the food. As I watched the show, I realized that it had been quite some time since we had mashed potatoes at home. It was time to remedy that.
As it happened I had a pork shoulder, salted and sitting in the fridge, waiting to be cooked. Usually we braise it in a mixture of tomatoes and chilies and go Mexican with the flavors. But I wanted gravy for my mashed potatoes. I decided to create something reminiscent of French Onion Soup, without the cheese and bread topping. I've always loved that rich beefy broth and it often gets forgotten in the excitement of the melted Gruyere. So I pulled out a container of organic beef broth and put it in the blender with a tablespoon of salt, two large onions and several cloves of garlic. That may sound like a lot of salt but it was a rather large pork shoulder. The outer pre-seasoning only penetrates so far and you need to cook it in a highly seasoned liquid for the best results. I added a rather large dollop of blond miso and some soy sauce to the liquid and then poured it around the pork shoulder in a deep half hotel pan. I covered it and put it in the oven at 250°F convection in the morning before I left for the shop (8-ish), Alex uncovered it when he got home from the shop around 2:30 and put it back into the oven, and it was done around 5:00pm.
We let it rest for at room temperature for about an hour because I didn't get home until almost 6:00pm. The meat was meltingly tender and the sauce was rich and delicious. We didn't bother to thicken the juices, simply pouring them into a large measuring cup and using a turkey baster to remove the less fatty juices and debris from the bottom. The onions and garlic had mellowed and sweetened, the flavor of the pork had imbued the sauce with it's meaty goodness, and the liquid itself was deeply savory. We spooned it over the meat and potatoes and there was silence at the table for several moments. It doesn't get any better than that.