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:
- 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)
- Chop everything and split into the reserve bowl and the immediate use bowl. For the immediate use, I chopped everything slightly smaller.
- 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.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the garlic and sweat another 2 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes to cook off the raw flavour.
- Add in the flour and cook another 2 minutes to cook off its raw flavour.
- Pour in the wine and reduce it by half. I put a lid on and left it for 3-5 minutes.
- 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.
- 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.