Forever Roasted Pork with Chipotle Glazed Apples and a Knockout Winter Salad with Maple Dressing

| January 22, 2010 | 9 Comments

Vic gave me a copy of The Tra Vigne Cookbook from the Napa Valley restaurant of the same name some years ago. Two recipes captured me immediately — Forever Roasted Pork, and Mozzarella Martinis. The pork recipe can be made any time of the year, but the Mozzarella Martinis are best left to when the very best vine-ripened tomatoes are available. Check back in late summer for Mozzarella Martinis — they’re not what you think.

Forever Roasted Pork and Chipotle Glazed Apples

We’ve gotten a lot of mileage from the pork recipe; it makes a lot, tastes terrific and makes your whole house smell wonderful. We even altered the spices in the rub to something more Asian and served it at a Lunar New Year’s party under the name Forbidden City Roasted Pork. Even thought of calling it Peking Piggy.

Michael Chiarello, chef at Botega, one of Napa Valley’s highly acclaimed new restaurants, brought us this wonderful recipe. It can be found on the Internet at numerous sites, including his own

My date with the Chipotle Glazed Apples recipe this time took an unusual twist, and unusual twists while cooking for dozens aren’t always fun. A clearer mind would have shaken off all doubt and negativity then shifted automatically into creative gear. Not this time — I was clearly headed into Lucy Ricardo’s kitchen, like the time she was baking bread and the loaf expanded and kept expanding. Only mine was diminishing and kept diminishing, as you will read later.

With the clock ticking down the final 180 minutes and the thought of dozens of Realtors descending on my Open House, the sweat poured. I am fully aware that multiplying recipe servings can be tricky and I wasn’t let down. However, all turned out well and my diners never knew about my earlier kitchen drama.

Roasting two large pork butts instead of one was smooth sailing. However sautéing the chipotle glazed apples, usually tedious but rewarding, led me into a deep dark path of creativity. Normally I peel, core and slice apples in wedges as for an apple pie. Because of the volume required, I borrowed my friend Kathy Thompson’s super-duper-deluxe Pampered Chef Apple Peeler Corer Slicer. It performed as promised and gave me what I envisioned — perfectly peeled, cored and sliced apples that I could then cut into smaller pieces.

Here’s where the unexpected twist began. The smaller cinnamon-sugar-coated apple pieces began giving off copious amounts of liquid while being sautéed, resulting in a much smaller amount of glazed apples.

My intention was to serve it as a side condiment with the pulled pork on “Silver-Dollar Buns.” I had enough pork for 50-60 eaters and enough apples for about 15-20. Enter Vic. “Add the apples to the pork and toss.” Brilliant suggestions most always come from clearer minds. Sigh!

Forever Roasted Pork
Adapted from a recipe in The Tra Vigne Cookbook by Michael Chiarello

“I call this ‘Forever Roasted Pork’ because it takes (almost) forever to roast — about 8 hours. The meat is well seasoned and cooked in a slow oven until it is so tender it shreds. Once it’s done, I challenge you not to stand at the kitchen counter and pick.”

Michael Chiarello

Serves a modest 6-8

  1. 2 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  2. 2 tablespoons (30 ml.) extra virgin olive oil
  3. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  4. 1½ teaspoons (8ml.) finely chopped fresh sage  or more to taste
  5. ½ cup (120 ml.) water
  6. 4 pounds (1.8 kg.) pork leg, shoulder or butt, at room temperature
  7. About ¼ cup (60 ml.) Fennel Spice (recipe follows)
  • Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat until hot. Add the onions along with a pinch of salt and pepper, reduce the heat slightly and cook for about 1 minute. Add the sage and continue cooking for several minutes or until the 0nions stop giving off water, about 3-4 minutes. Add the water, cover and let the onions steam for about 10 minutes and the onions are very tender. Uncover and sauté until the pan is almost completely dry, then season with additional salt and pepper. (Because the method I used strays from the original, I was cautious with the salt as I was going to cover the roast with sliced bacon.)
  • Preheat the oven to 275˚F (135˚C). Peel back the pork skin and spread the onions directly on the fat layer. Fold the skin back over the onions and tie securely with kitchen string. Season well with the fennel spice. (The roasts I used were well marbled but had no cover skin or fat so I improvised with a layer of bacon laid lengthwise over the onion mixture then tied. The two roasts used almost 1 pound, almost ½ kg., of bacon.)
  • Place the roast on a rack in a roasting pan and cook until the meat is very tender, about 6-8 hours. (I began my roasting at 11:00 PM and took it out of the oven at 7:00 AM.)
  • If you cooked with bacon covering as I did, remove string and bacon and discard.
  • Allow the roast to set until cool enough to handle and then slice or pull for serving as you wish.

Note: Be generous with the rub as a lot of it will fall off during the roasting process.

Forever Roasted Pork before roasting

Forever Roasted Pork after 8 hours in a 275°F oven

Fennel Spice

  1. 1 cup (240 ml.) fennel seeds
  2. 3 tablespoons (45 ml.) coriander seeds
  3. 2 tablespoons (30 ml.) white peppercorns
  4. 3 tablespoons (45 ml.) kosher salt
  • Toast the fennel seeds, coriander seeds and peppercorns in a heavy pan over medium heat. Stay awake here so you won’t burn them. Toss to toast evenly.
  • Remove to a cool plate to cool to room temperature. They must be cool for grinding. Hot seeds will gum up and make a mess.
  • Place the cooled mixture along with the salt in a blender and blend to a fine powder.

Note: This makes an abundant amount so store leftover rub in a tightly sealed glass jar for future roasts.

Chipotle Glazed Apples
Adapted from a Bon Appétit recipe via

If you love to cook and haven’t discovered, then go forth and discover it for yourself. It is a repository of thousands of recipes from Gourmet, Bon Appétit and other sources. In addition, recipes are rated by the reviews and comments of readers. It’s a veritable treasure trove of recipes and knowledge.

Serves 6 as a side dish

  1. ½ cup (120 ml.) sugar
  2. 1½ teaspoon (8 ml.) ground cinnamon
  3. 4 medium red delicious apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  4. 4 tablespoons (60 ml.) vegetable oil
  5. 4 teaspoons (20 ml.) minced canned chiplote chiles
  • Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.
  • Mix sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
  • Toss ¼ of the apple slices in the sugar/cinnamon to coat.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) of the oil with 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) of the chipotles in a heavy non-stick pan over medium high heat.
  • Add the apple slices and cook until the coating caramelizes and the apple slices are heated through. Turn often.
  • Remove caramelized apples to the prepared pan with waxed paper.
  • Carefully wipe the pan clean with paper towels and repeat the process until all apples are done.

Note: Cleaning the pan is very important as any sugar build-up will quickly turn to carbon.

Serve as a side with the pork.

Apple, Dried Cherry, and Walnut Salad with Maple Dressing
Adapted from a Bon Appétit recipe via

This is a recipe I found shortly after moving to Oregon and trot out for festive winter meals. It never fails to elicit praise.

Maple Dressing

  1. ¼ cup (60 ml.) mayonnaise
  2. ¼ cup (60 ml.) pure maple syrup
  3. 3 tablespoons (45 ml.) Champagne vinegar or other white wine vineger (O brand makes a wonderful one and I found it at Safeway.)
  4. 2 teaspoons (10 ml.) sugar ( I heeded other readers’ advice and used about half that amount.)
  5. ½ cup (120 ml.) vegetable oil
  • Whisk the first 4 ingredients in a bowl until fully blended.
  • Gradually whisk in the oil until the dressing thickens. (An immersion blender is perfect for this.)


  1. 10 cups ( 2.3 lt.) mixed baby greens
  2. 2 Granny Smith apples, julienned
  3. ½ cup (120 ml.) dried tart cherries
  4. ½ cup (120 ml.) chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted.
  • Toss all together with enough dressing to coat.

Note: You will have leftover dressing and that’s a good thing.

Bon appétit

– Charles

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: Meat, Pork

About the Author (Author Profile)

Music, food and photography are at the center of Charles’ life. He performed with the Dallas Symphony, Dallas Opera and was assistant principal bassoonist with the Fort Worth Symphony for more than 20 years. When Charles and Victor moved to Baltimore, Charles created Lone Star Personal Chef and Catering Service and taught cooking classes at Williams-Sonoma. Now in Salem, Charles is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Mountain West Real Estate, taught cooking classes for children at the A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village, and owns and operates Charles Price Photography. Charles and Vic enjoy entertaining and frequently host dinners as fundraisers for local non-profits and charities

Comments (9)

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  1. Mel Wagner says:

    Sounds and looks wonderful! I am looking forward to the mozzarella martini recipe also!

  2. Todd Helton says:

    Looks great for my smoker! Thanks Charles!

  3. Ginny Renaud says:

    I will testify to this recipe. I attended Charles’ Open House and the pulled pork was amazing on demi size buns. The fruit w/the meat was outstanding. As always, Charles, it was a winner….just like you. By the way the house was very nice too.

  4. deana says:

    This looks so gorgeous… chipotle apples are inspired!

  5. Thank goodness Vic saved the day! 🙂 You are so kind Charles. Not many would cook for so long and for so many. The picture is beautiful, as always, and it makes me want to try this soon.

  6. […] apples with sugar, cinnamon and chipotles for some time now to use as a condiment alongside Forever Roast Pork, a classic recipe from Tra Vigne Restaurant in St. Helena […]

  7. Jeri Scott says:

    This recipe is delicious and versatile. I have served, twice, as an elegant dinner rather than a pulled pork version. Both times to raves! It is actually quite simple to prepare, and the smell of the fennel and coriander is reward enough (even if you are not the adventurous type). The chipotle apples is a must to serve with the pork. I will be freezing the extras to serve with Christmas day ham. Thanks to Charles for bringing this fine dish to our attention!

  8. Ed says:

    I tried this today. The result was disappointing, which was a huge surprise. The pork was very dry. Perhaps the pork (heritage) was too lean? I’d cover it with foil and uncover it toward the end when I try it again. Perhaps I cooked it too long (seven hours)? The chipotle glazed apples were amazing! I think one of the issues was that I was anticipating amazement.

  9. Victor says:

    It works best with a rump or shoulder roast with the skin left on and lots of fat around it. Also, check the temperature of your oven with an oven thermometer. If it’s too hot, roasting it for the full recipe time will certainly dry it out.

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