This could be a better picture, but when you're hungry and a table full of people are waiting on you to hurry up and get there so they can start eating...well, food art goes out the window. But you get the idea--Midwest Boiled Dinner (any boiled dinner) is a miracle of cooking efficiency: meat and four veggies that are cooked in the same pot and still retain their unique characters.
The secret is a staggered cooking time, with the potatoes jumping in first, then turnips, followed by carrots and last, cabbage. I had never made a boiled dinner with smoked pork butt--only corned beef, and I will forever more make it with smoked pork--if you're gearing up for St. Paddy's Day and want to try this, look for a 2 lb. piece of smoked pork butt, also called smoked pork shoulder butt, and also sometimes (from what I read) called a Boston butt. Hey, I don't do the naming, I'm just your humble reporter.
And since this recipe isn't on Epicurious, I'll give you the rundown--bring your pork butt to a boil in water to cover, along with 2 bay leaves and 10 peppercorns. Simmer for an hour. (If there's netting, let it cook in the netting for 5 mins, then cut it off). Add 1.25 lbs or so of peeled small yellow potatoes (like Yukon Gold), and simmer for 8 mins; add 3/4 lbs peeled and 1-inch-wedged turnips and simmer for 5 mins (fyi I used radishes which are like little bitty turnips); add peeled carrots that have been cut into 3" lengths and simmer for 10 mins; then finally add 1.5 lbs cabbage (1 small or half large) that's been cut into 6 wedges and simmer for 7-10 mins.
Then take it all out and put it on a platter that you've been keeping in a warming oven (like at 175)--cover with foil. Oh, slice the pork first. And artfully arrange your veggies. Keep the boiling water, you'll want a little bit.
To make the sauce (what? I didn't tell you about the sauce??? It's Brown Butter-Horseradish Sauce!!) melt 6 tbsp butter in a pan and let the milk solids brown (if you've never done this, watch this useful video:)
Please note that I see her sort of jostling the pan around IF YOU HAVE A GAS STOVE DON'T DO THIS because at best you'll get butter on your clothes (which sucks) and at worst you'll have a butter bonfire. Use a wooden spoon (or something) to stir and see what's going on under the foam.
After the butter has browned, take it off the heat and stir in 2 tbsp bottled horseradish, 1 tbsp reserved cooking liquid, 2 tsp white vinegar and 1/4 tsp salt. And there's your sauce! Serve brown mustard on the side and voila--dinner is served.
And hey! The fact that this is called Midwest Boiled Dinner makes me think of my new friends in MN who actually all seem to prefer French Bistro and/or Mexican food. See you guys next week!