Delicious pot of braised pork

When you think of a hearty stew, which meat comes to mind? For me, I’d look for stewing beef at the grocery store; however, I wanted a healthier alternative. Earlier this week as I was flipping through channels on television, I stopped on TLN and watched Ricardo (I think) in French. I couldn’t understand, but I watched as he sauteed some vegetables while searing a large piece of pork. I didn’t watch the whole episode, but that image stayed with me and I decided I wanted to make a pot of braised pork. The weather has finally dipped this week (but not today, reaching 19C), and cold weather prompts me to make comfort foods.

I liked the recipe from Melissa d’Arabian because she uses pieces of pork versus a whole roast. This is my version:

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 6 large chunks
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion, chopped
  • 6 celery hearts, chopped (3 hearts reserved)
  • 2 large carrots, chopped (1 carrot reserved)
  • 1/2 bulb of large fennel (1/2 of it reserved)
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (roughly)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup red wine (use wine that you would drink)
  • 1 1/4 cups beef stock or broth
  • 1 bunch parsley (stems & leaves), tied with string
  • 2 bay leaves (dry)

Directions:

  1. Chop everything and split into the reserve bowl and the immediate use bowl. For the immediate use, I chopped everything slightly smaller.
  2. Preheat your braising pot to medium-high heat, preferably something you can take from stove-top to oven. I purchased a 2 pound boneless pork shoulder roast. Roughly cut it into 6 pieces and pat dry. Season generously with salt.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  4. Once your pot is hot enough, coat the bottom with a think layer of olive oil and place your chunks of meat into the pot. It’s going to make a mess of splattered oil. Depending on the size of your pot, you may need to sear the meat in batches. Brown the meat on all sides until a golden crust forms. This process took about 15 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate.
  5. To the pan add the immediate use onion, celery, fennel, and carrot and sweat until softened. Adding some salt will help with the sweating. You could do this in batches, but I put it all in and hence this step took about 15 minutes.
  6. Add the garlic and sweat another 2 minutes.
  7. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes to cook off the raw flavour.
  8. Add in the flour and cook another 2 minutes to cook off its raw flavour.
  9. Pour in the wine and reduce it by half. I put a lid on and left it for 3-5 minutes.
  10. Return the pork to the pot, then stir in the beef stock, parsley stems, and bay leaves. I only needed 1 cup of the stock. I only added enough so that the pork was only half submerged in the braising mixture. Do not cover the pork with liquid.
  11. Cover the pan and place it in the oven to braise until the meat is fork tender, about 2 hours. After 1.25 hours, I checked on my meat for tenderness. It was looking good, so I added the reserved vegetables and another 1/4 cup of the stock and placed the pot back into the oven for another 45 minutes.

For us, this recipe serves two with leftovers (or 3 with no leftovers).

Hubs was inspired to bake up a baguette to go with the braised pork. I absolutely love fresh bread! Since he needed to crank the oven temperature up to 425 degrees C, I decided to roast some potatoes. There is an easy but tasty roasted potato recipe in the Love & Lemons cookbook on page 217. I only had two potatoes on hand, but that’s enough for us. I diced them up and added the mixture of olive oil, Meyer lemon zest and juice, Dijon, chili flakes, dried rosemary, and salt and pepper. I love when roasted potatoes are crunchy on the outside and fluffy inside. It was perfect.

 

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