Braised Pork Shoulder

I love braised meats. I think I have been hooked ever since trying Julia Child’s famed boeuf bourguignon recipe. At the time, that meal had represented decadence and comfort, but now my appreciation has grown even more as I have learned about all the wonderful benefits of stews and braises. First of all, I love that braising is a technique that can take the cheapest, toughest cut of meat and transform it into a tender morsel that falls apart and melts in your mouth. Secondly, it is very convenient that you can pop the meal in the oven and just let it go without a lot of fuss. Lastly, I love all of the possible creativity that can go into altering the flavors of a stew or braise. One can use different cooking liquids such as stocks, wines, liquors or beer, different herbs to add depth, or other spices to add a kick, zing, or sweetness. For this dish, I wanted a warm and lightly spiced, hearty winter meal. I settled on the flavor aspects of orange peel and chocolate for the highlight. I used a chocolate stout beer during the cooking process and then as a finishing touch, added a few blocks of dark chocolate to melt into the finished sauce. I learned this trick from my subletter and I like how it added a velvety texture and almost undetectable hint of flavor to the sauce.  I plated the meat atop a bed of creamy parmesan polenta and finished the dish with sauteed greens as well as a relish that I mixed up combining caramelized onions, sauteed apples, and pureed sweet potatoes.

I love braised meats. I think I have been hooked ever since trying Julia Child’s famed boeuf bourguignon recipe. At the time, that meal had represented decadence and comfort, but now my appreciation has grown even more as I have learned about all the wonderful benefits of stews and braises. First of all, I love that braising is a technique that can take the cheapest, toughest cut of meat and transform it into a tender morsel that falls apart and melts in your mouth. Secondly, it is very convenient that you can pop the meal in the oven and just let it go without a lot of fuss. Lastly, I love all of the possible creativity that can go into altering the flavors of a stew or braise. One can use different cooking liquids such as stocks, wines, liquors or beer, different herbs to add depth, or other spices to add a kick, zing, or sweetness. For this dish, I wanted a warm and lightly spiced, hearty winter meal. I settled on the flavor aspects of orange peel and chocolate for the highlight. I used a chocolate stout beer during the cooking process and then as a finishing touch, added a few blocks of dark chocolate to melt into the finished sauce. I learned this trick from my subletter and I like how it added a velvety texture and almost undetectable hint of flavor to the sauce.

I plated the meat atop a bed of creamy parmesan polenta and finished the dish with sauteed greens as well as a relish that I mixed up combining caramelized onions, sauteed apples, and pureed sweet potatoes.

For the Pork

  • 3 Pounds of Pork Shoulder, trimmed and cut into two inch pieces
  • 2 Bottles Young’s Double Chocolate Stout Beer
  • 8 Cups Chicken Stock (or to cover)
  • 1 Onion, Mirepoix
  • 1 Tomato, Mirepoix
  • 4 Carrots, Mirepoix
  • 6 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Orange, Zested
  • 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons Cumin
  • 2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • Flour, to Singer
  • 1 Ounce Dark Chocolate

For the Relish

  • 3 Sweet Potatoes
  • 3 Apples
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 2 Teaspoons Coconut Sugar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Coconut Oil
  • Water

For the Greens

  • 2 Bunches Rainbow Swiss Chard
  • 1 Bunch Kale
  • 3 Shallots, Ciseler
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Coconut Oil

For the Polenta

  • 1 Cup Coarse Ground Corn Meal
  • 6 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • ½ Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper

Procedure

  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Trim off Excess fat from the pork. Cut the pork into two inch pieces.
  3. Heat coconut oil in a large pan and brown the pork evenly on all sides. Remove from the pan, degrease and add the mirepoix carrots and onion.
  4. Cook the carrots and onions until soft. Add the garlic and cook for five minutes.
  5. Add the tomato. Singer with flour and continue to cook for five minutes.
  6. Combine the meat into the pot with the vegetables. Add the spices, orange zest, chicken stock and beer to cover the meat.
  7. Cover with a lid and place the pot in an oven for two hours or until the meat is tender to the touch.
  8. Remove from the oven and separate the meat from the rest of the contents. Set aside
  9. Continue to cook the remains until the sauce has reduced. Strain out the vegetables through a chinois, pressing down. Reduce the sauce until nappant.
  10. Lastly, add the dark chocolate and stir until melted. Season to taste with Salt and Pepper
  11. Add the Meat back to the sauce and keep warm for service.

_____________________________________________________________________________

  1. Bring Chicken stock to a boil, then slowly pour in the corn meal, stirring to avoid lumps.
  2. Reduce the heat and continue to stir for one half hour.
  3. As the Polenta cooks, it will thicken, near the end of the cooking process, add the cream and continue to stir.
  4. Whisk in Parmesan Cheese. Season to Taste with Salt and Pepper.

_____________________________________________________________________________

  1. Clean and roughly chop the kale and swiss chard, removing any oversized or tough ribs.
  2. Sauté the shallots in coconut oil
  3. Add the greens and sauté until softened.
  4. Mix in the honey. Season with Salt and Pepper

_____________________________________________________________________________

  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees
  2. Prick the sweet potatoes with a fork, wrap in aluminum foil and bake for a half an hour, or until soft. Remove the flesh and mash with a fork.
  3. Sauté chopped onions in coconut oil until soft and translucent. Add coconut sugar and continue to cook until caramelized. Add in roughly chopped apples along with the spices. Cover and cook until the apples have softened and the smaller pieces have begun to disintegrate.
  4. Transfer the apples and onions into a bowl and mix to combine with the sweet potato. Add water to loosen mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper

_____________________________________________________________________________

  1. Spoon a layer of polenta into a shallow bowl
  2. Top with one portion of meat and surround the plate with sauce.
  3. Place a portion each of kale and relish in the middle of the plate.