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Mandarins bring Good Luck in the New Year

Updated: Jan 30

They say that mandarins bring good luck in the new year. Well, then bring on the mandarins in plenty! They are not only the sweetest tasting of the fruits in the 'orange' family, but also the most vibrant in their color, making them beautiful to display. While it seemed symbolic to place a bowl of these citric fruits on the countertop for the new year, that was not the reason I had purchased them. It was during a trip to Whole Foods that I stopped dead in my tracks. Habitually, I stop to admire the fresh florals as I enter the store. However, on this particular January day, these leafy fruits caught my eye instead. They were merely a thing of beauty.


https://www.backcountrymercantile.com/milk-glass
A bowl of mandarins signify good luck in the new year.

It was the luck of the girls and me that my husband came up with the idea to produce the most magnificent Pork Rib Roast, caramelized with 'applewood smoked' maple syrup and accompanied by a fragrant sauce made from caramelized mandarins. It also just happens to be the most requested recipe from my readers and followers in the new year. We served roasted potatoes alongside this dish. They were simply prepared with avocado oil, butter, oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and sea salt.


I have a girlfriend who makes the most divine looking candies from the skins of the orange, or in this case, the mandarin. I love the idea of finding a way to use all aspects of the fruit, leaving no waste behind. (We will be tapping her for that recipe next!) I believe that all it takes is reducing some sugar in a boiler pan, dipping the peels of the fruit into the simple syrup reduction, and then drying them prior to rolling them into granulated sugar of your choice. If you are feeling extra fancy, you can dip the tips of the peels into melted chocolate.


When selecting our meats, we make an effort to source humanely and pasture-raised ones, bred on small family farms, without the use of antibiotics or injected hormones. For this reason, we love to shop from D'Artagnan Foods, a food seller and manufacturer of beef, pork, lamb, veal, patés, sausages, as well as smoked and cured charcuteries, all-natural and organic poultries, game, and free-range meat. https://www.dartagnan.com (* First-time subscribers will receive $25 off their first order of $150 or more.)


A dutch oven, or 'cocotte' by Staub Cookware.

Something I learned long ago was the importance of looking at all the ingredients on food labels. For example, it might seem obvious that the first ingredient on a loaf of whole wheat bread should be whole wheat flour. You'd be surprised at how many loaves out there have white flour as the first ingredient. This would not make it whole wheat bread, would it? Furthermore, how many times have you looked at the back of a bottle of dressing to find more than ten ingredients, not to mention ones you may not even be able to pronounce? The mantra I stand by is, "if you can't pronounce it, don't eat it".


For all the above reasons, we stand by making as many of our dressings and sauces from scratch at home. We use as few ingredients as possible, and select ones that are sustainable, and most importantly, ones that we can pronounce! We always endeavor to purchase organic produce, but when organic is not available, we buy locally grown products. When factoring in the far distances from where some organically come, making the choice to select products from smaller local farms is the way to go.


Last but not least, selecting the right spices for the 'rub' for your meat is as equally important as the delicious sauce you will be serving alongside your dish. A new favorite brand of unique spice blends that we have discovered is Le Boite. https://www.laboiteny.com. While a small brick and mortar exist in Manhattan, where master spice blender Lior Lev Sercarz offers more than 80 of his unique spice blends, it is just as easy to browse and shop from his exotic selection online. Be prepared for your taste buds to thank you!



Pork Rib Roast with Mandarin Sauce

Serves 6-8



Pork Rib Roast


1 Whole Pork Rib Roast (Our preferred choice is the Berkshire Rib Roast by D'Artagnan)

3 Links of Spanish Style Chorizo (Our favorite is an all-natural Heritage Breed Pork Chorizo by D'Artagnan)

2 Large White Onions

1 Cup of White Wine

2 Cup of Chicken Stock

OMG Spice Blend by Le Boite (*or your favorite dry spice blend substitution containing mustard, a key ingredient.)


Caramelized Mandarins


8 Mandarins

1 Tbsp of Unsalted Butter

3 Tbsp Organic Applewood Smoked Maple Syrup

1/2 C of Chicken Broth (or Pork Broth if you have it)


Equiment & Utensils


Dutch Oven (or a Roasting Pan)

Saute Pan

Pastry Brush

Large Spoon

Carving Knife


For the Pork Rib Roast:


  1. Warm the dutch oven (or roasting pan) over medium heat on the range top.

  2. Chop the Chorizo into bite-size pieces and add them to the dutch oven (or roasting pan).

  3. Allow the fat to 'render' out of the sausage. Remove the majority of the fat from the pan, but leave some of the liquid behind to assist in caramelizing the onions.

  4. Add the onions to the pan. Wait for them to caramelize. Then, add the white wine and reduce the heat.

  5. Now, add the chicken stock.

  6. Place the pork roast in the dutch oven (or roasting pan) and cover with a lid.

  7. Place the pan in the oven at 300 degrees for one hour.


Using a roasting pan for the rib roast.

For the Mandarin Sauce:


  1. While the pork is in the oven, peel the mandarins.

  2. Heat a saute pan over low heat and add the mandarins, butter, maple syrup, and some of the chicken stock.

  3. Continue to cook slowly over low heat, basting the mandarins with the sauce every so often to keep them moist.



Caramelizing the Pork and Mandarins under the Broiler:


  1. After one hour of cooking, take the pork out of the oven.

  2. Brush the pork with maple syrup.

  3. Place the pork back into the oven, under the broiler, to caramelize the syrup. Be sure to watch carefully, so as not to burn.

  4. Now, caramelize the mandarins under the broiler at the same time.

  5. Cook the two slowly, while continuing to baste the mandarins, every so often.


Caramelizing the pork and mandarins under the broiler.

Reducing the Sauce and Plating the Roast:


  1. Reduce the sauce of chorizo and caramelized onion until it has the desired consistency.

  2. Plate the roast on a platter accompanied by the sauce and the caramelized mandarins.


Bon Appétit!


xx Amanda


To browse any of the featured milk glass products or hand-painted ceramics in our blog post, simply click on the image, and you will be directed to our online shop. Otherwise, visit us at https://www.backcountrymercantile.com/shop-1 to explore all we have to offer.


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