BRAISED PORK SHOULDER WITH SPRING VEGETABLES

I PREFER ODD CUTS OF MEAT -- HANGER AND SKIRT STEAKS, LAMB NECK, AND, IN THIS CASE, PORK SHOULDER.  THEY ARE BOTH CHEAPER AND MORE FLAVORFUL, LARDED WITH FAT AND DRAWING FLAVOR FROM THE BONE.  THIS TEMPTING HUNK OF PORK TURNED UP IN THE DISPLAY CASE AT McCALL'S.  I BROWNED IT AND BRAISED IT IN WHITE WINE WITH ONIONS, GARLIC AND FENNEL, ADDING BABY TURNIPS, CARROTS AND PEARL ONIONS IN THE LAST HALF HOUR.  TO REMOVE THE GENEROUS AMOUNT OF FAT IN THE COOKING LIQUID, I DRAINED THE BROTH AND FROZE IT FOR AN HOUR SO THE FAT WOULD CONGEAL ON THE TOP, BUT ORDINARILY I WOULD MAKE A DISH LIKE THIS A DAY AHEAD.  IT MAKES IT EASY TO SKIM OFF THE FAT AND THE FLAVORS TEND TO MELD SO IT IS EVEN BETTER THE NEXT DAY. 

 3 lbs PORK SHOULDER
 2 RED ONIONS
 1 FENNEL BULB
 4 GARLIC CLOVES
 ROSEMARY, THYME, BAY LEAF
 2 cups WHITE WINE
 4 cups BEEF OR CHICKEN STOCK
 12 BABY TURNIPS
 12 SMALL CARROTS
 20 PEARL OR CIPPOLINI ONIONS
 ITALIAN PARSLEY

1

PRE-HEAT OVEN TO 325º.

IF YOUR BUTCHER LEAVES THE FAT CAP ON, SCORE IT WITH A SHARP KNIFE. SALT AND PEPPER.

HEAT 4 TBSP OF OLIVE OIL IN A DUTCH OVEN. BROWN THE PORK ON ALL SIDES, FAT SIDE DOWN FIRST.

MEANWHILE, PEEL THE RED ONIONS, SLICE LENGTHWISE IN HALF, THEN INTO THIN HALF-MOONS. DO THE SAME THING WITH THE FENNEL BULB. PEEL AND MINCE THE GARLIC CLOVES.

REMOVE THE BROWNED PORK SHOULDER. POUR OFF MOST OF THE FAT, LEAVING ABOUT 3 TBSPS. LOWER THE HEAT AND ADD THE ONION AND THE FENNEL. COVER AND COOK FOR A FEW MINUTES ON A LOW FLAME UNTIL THE VEGETABLES ARE SOFT. ADD THE CHOPPED GARLIC AND COOK FOR ANOTHER MINUTE.

PLACE THE PORK SHOULDER IN THE CASSEROLE, FAT SIDE UP. POUR IN THE WHITE WINE. RAISE THE HEAT AND REDUCE BY HALF. ADD THE STOCK AND THE ROSEMARY, THYME AND BAY LEAF TIED TOGETHER WITH COTTON STRING. BRING TO A BOIL, REDUCE TO A SIMMER. COVER AND PLACE IN THE OVEN. COOK FOR ABOUT 1 1/2 HOURS OR UNTIL THE MEAT IS EASILY PIERCED WITH A FORK. ADD THE TURNIPS AND CARROTS ABOUT 15 MINUTES BEFORE THE MEAT IS DONE.

WHILE THE PORK IS BRAISING, BRING A SAUCE PAN OF WATER TO BOIL. SLICE OFF THE ROOT AND STEM ENDS OF THE ONIONS. BOIL FOR ONE MINUTE. DRAIN AND DUMP INTO A BOWL OF ICED WATER. WHEN COOL, THE SKINS SHOULD SLIP OFF EASILY. DRY THE ONIONS. BROWN LIGHTLY IN A PAN WITH A FEW TBSPS OF OLIVE OIL. ADD TO THE CASSEROLE 10 MINUTES BEFORE THE END OF THE COOKING.

WHEN THE PORK HAS COOLED, REMOVE FROM THE CASSEROLE ALONG WITH THE TURNIPS, CARROTS AND ONIONS.

STRAIN THE COOKING LIQUID, PRESSING DOWN ON THE SOLIDS TO EXTRACT THE JUICES. IF SERVING THE SAME DAY, PLACE THE LIQUID IN FREEZER FOR ABOUT AN HOUR OR UNTIL THE FAT CONGEALS ON SURFACE. OTHERWISE, PLACE IN THE FRIDGE OVERNIGHT AND REMOVE THE FAT THE NEXT DAY.

TO SERVE, RETURN ALL THE INGREDIENTS TO THE CASSEROLE AND HEAT ON A LOW FLAME.

YOU CAN EITHER SERVE THE DISH IN THE CASSEROLE OR SLICE IT AND ARRANGE ON A PLATTER, SCATTERED WITH FRESH PARSLEY.

SERVES 4

Ingredients

 3 lbs PORK SHOULDER
 2 RED ONIONS
 1 FENNEL BULB
 4 GARLIC CLOVES
 ROSEMARY, THYME, BAY LEAF
 2 cups WHITE WINE
 4 cups BEEF OR CHICKEN STOCK
 12 BABY TURNIPS
 12 SMALL CARROTS
 20 PEARL OR CIPPOLINI ONIONS
 ITALIAN PARSLEY

Directions

1

PRE-HEAT OVEN TO 325º.

IF YOUR BUTCHER LEAVES THE FAT CAP ON, SCORE IT WITH A SHARP KNIFE. SALT AND PEPPER.

HEAT 4 TBSP OF OLIVE OIL IN A DUTCH OVEN. BROWN THE PORK ON ALL SIDES, FAT SIDE DOWN FIRST.

MEANWHILE, PEEL THE RED ONIONS, SLICE LENGTHWISE IN HALF, THEN INTO THIN HALF-MOONS. DO THE SAME THING WITH THE FENNEL BULB. PEEL AND MINCE THE GARLIC CLOVES.

REMOVE THE BROWNED PORK SHOULDER. POUR OFF MOST OF THE FAT, LEAVING ABOUT 3 TBSPS. LOWER THE HEAT AND ADD THE ONION AND THE FENNEL. COVER AND COOK FOR A FEW MINUTES ON A LOW FLAME UNTIL THE VEGETABLES ARE SOFT. ADD THE CHOPPED GARLIC AND COOK FOR ANOTHER MINUTE.

PLACE THE PORK SHOULDER IN THE CASSEROLE, FAT SIDE UP. POUR IN THE WHITE WINE. RAISE THE HEAT AND REDUCE BY HALF. ADD THE STOCK AND THE ROSEMARY, THYME AND BAY LEAF TIED TOGETHER WITH COTTON STRING. BRING TO A BOIL, REDUCE TO A SIMMER. COVER AND PLACE IN THE OVEN. COOK FOR ABOUT 1 1/2 HOURS OR UNTIL THE MEAT IS EASILY PIERCED WITH A FORK. ADD THE TURNIPS AND CARROTS ABOUT 15 MINUTES BEFORE THE MEAT IS DONE.

WHILE THE PORK IS BRAISING, BRING A SAUCE PAN OF WATER TO BOIL. SLICE OFF THE ROOT AND STEM ENDS OF THE ONIONS. BOIL FOR ONE MINUTE. DRAIN AND DUMP INTO A BOWL OF ICED WATER. WHEN COOL, THE SKINS SHOULD SLIP OFF EASILY. DRY THE ONIONS. BROWN LIGHTLY IN A PAN WITH A FEW TBSPS OF OLIVE OIL. ADD TO THE CASSEROLE 10 MINUTES BEFORE THE END OF THE COOKING.

WHEN THE PORK HAS COOLED, REMOVE FROM THE CASSEROLE ALONG WITH THE TURNIPS, CARROTS AND ONIONS.

STRAIN THE COOKING LIQUID, PRESSING DOWN ON THE SOLIDS TO EXTRACT THE JUICES. IF SERVING THE SAME DAY, PLACE THE LIQUID IN FREEZER FOR ABOUT AN HOUR OR UNTIL THE FAT CONGEALS ON SURFACE. OTHERWISE, PLACE IN THE FRIDGE OVERNIGHT AND REMOVE THE FAT THE NEXT DAY.

TO SERVE, RETURN ALL THE INGREDIENTS TO THE CASSEROLE AND HEAT ON A LOW FLAME.

YOU CAN EITHER SERVE THE DISH IN THE CASSEROLE OR SLICE IT AND ARRANGE ON A PLATTER, SCATTERED WITH FRESH PARSLEY.

SERVES 4

BRAISED PORK SHOULDER WITH SPRING VEGETABLES
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