Tag Archives: pork shoulder

Pork Shoulder with Guinness, Dried Cherries and Sweet Potato

Pork shoulder is a classic for braising. The meat turns nearly spoonable but still slices nicely, and leftovers are great for sandwiches. In this recipe the pork is combined with dried cherries and sweet potatoes, balancing their sweetness with the slightly bitter taste of Guinness stout and molasses. Odd combination? I thought so too, but OMG, it was fantastic!

It hailed from renowned Chef Daniel Boulud’s cookbook “Braise, A Journey Through International Cuisine” where all of his recipes are influenced with a global perspective. We know that braising transforms inexpensive, tough cuts of meat into succulent soft morsels. And as Daniel writes “In fact, the cheaper, more sinewy, and more chewy the meat is to begin with, the more delectable it’s texture and the thicker the sauce after cooking.”

The original recipe, which is depicted below, calls for a 5-1/2 pound shoulder roast. We happened to have a 3-1/2 pound pork roast on hand, so that’s what we used and adjusted the other ingredients to follow suit. Then we completed the meal with roasted cauliflower and carrots.

Don’t forget to make the Guinness stout and cherry sauce ahead of time. It needs to sit for at least an hour or be refrigerated overnight for the flavors to meld.

Pork Shoulder with Guinness, Dried Cherries and Sweet Potato

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 5 cups Guinness stout
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (51/2-lb.) pork shoulder roast
  • Coarse sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large red onions, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 5 whole allspice, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 3 Tbsp. packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 lbs. sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and roughly chopped

Directions

  1. Bring the stout, cherries, and vinegar to a simmer in a saucepan. Transfer to a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let sit for at least 1 hour, or refrigerate overnight.
  2. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300°F.
  3. Warm the oil in a large cast-iron pot or Dutch oven over high heat. Season the pork shoulder with salt and ground black pepper and sear on all sides until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the pork shoulder to a platter. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the fat in the pot.
  4. Add the onion and the crushed black pepper to the pot and sauté for 7 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer.
  5. Add the pork shoulder, the marinated cherries and liquid, allspice, bay leaves, molasses, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 cups water. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
  6. Cover the pot, transfer it to the oven, and braise for 1 hour, turning the pork once during cooking. Add the sweet potatoes and continue to braise for 2 more hours, turning two more times. If the sauce is too thin or is not flavored intensely enough, ladle most of it off into another pot and simmer it until it thickens and intensifies. Then add it back to the first pot.
  7. Slice the pork and serve with the sauce on top.

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Recipe Courtesy of “Braise: A Journey Through International Cuisine,” ECCO/Harper Collins – 2006

Szechuan Pork Stew and Chinese Broccoli with Garlic

For those of you who favor bold Asian dishes, you’re going to want to put this recipe on your short list. It used to be that the only place to experience Szechuan cooking was China’s Sichuan province—a region located in the southwestern part of the country. But it is quite common just about everywhere now.

Though it is particularly unique in that Szechuan cooking is known for its dishes loaded with beef, rice, vegetables and, of course, Szechuan (or Sichuan) pepper. Although the main protein in this dish is pork.

Szechuan pepper is the trademark ingredient in Szechuan cuisine, however it doesn’t carry a lot of heat because it’s not even a pepper! Instead the regional spice is made from tiny peppercorns made from the dried husk of an ash shrub. These tiny pink peppercorns provide a kick of citrusy flavor that marries well with ingredients like ginger, soy and steamed veggies.

I didn’t notice until after I made and ate this fabulous dish, that I had completely forgotten to include the 1 tablespoon of sugar in the pork marinade. But we didn’t miss it at all, so if you have scaled back on sugar in your diet, then I would say it is OK to eliminate it here.

At the very end of the cooking process, we weren’t satisfied with how thin the liquid in the stew appeared. Russ made a last minute decision to make a slurry from corn starch and water to thicken the sauce. It only took another couple of minutes, and not only coated the meat nicely, it gave a more substantial appearance overall.

Szechuan Pork Stew with Chiles

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

For the Marinade:

  • 2 lb. pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. five-spice

For the Stew:

  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 3 Tbsp. peanut oil, divided
  • 1 knob ginger (about 2 oz.), peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 10 whole dried red chiles
  • 1 Tbsp. Szechuan peppercorns (about 1/4 oz.), cracked
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch with 1 Tbsp. water for slurry (optional)
  • 4 scallions (both white and green parts), thinly sliced

Directions

Make the Marinade:

  1. Toss the pork cubes with the soy sauce, wine, sesame oil, sugar, and five-spice powder. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour, or, cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours. (We marinaded for 8 hours.)

Make the Stew:

  1. Sprinkle the pork with the cornstarch and toss to coat.
  2. Heat a large, heavy Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil, and when it’s shimmering, add half of the pork in an even layer, Cook, undisturbed, until browned around the edges, and pork lifts easily with tongs, about 3 minutes.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium. Flip, and cook the other side until browned, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate.
  5. Repeat the process with the remaining half of the pork.
  6. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, the ginger, garlic, szechuan peppers and chiles. Cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 2 minutes.
  7. Add the broth, soy sauce and oyster sauce, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
  8. Add the pork and any accumulated juices. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until the pork is tender, about 1 hour.
  9. To make a thicker sauce, add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to 1 tablespoon of cold water and mix until smooth. Heat the pot until a simmering boil and add the slurry a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir together for 30 seconds.
  10. Serve immediately over steamed jasmine rice.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from a recipe for Fine Cooking

Chinese Broccoli with Garlic

Chinese broccoli, also known as Chinese kale, is a leafy green vegetable closely related to thick-stemmed broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. It has flat leaves, thick stems, and tiny florets. It’s not easy to find Chinese broccoli in regular grocery stores, so check your local Asian market, which is more likely to carry it.

Chinese Broccoli with Garlic

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Chinese broccoli, trimmed and cut into small sections
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable cooking oil
  • 2 tsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil

Directions

  1. Trim Chinese broccoli, remove the hard skins and diagonally cut into 2″ sections. Separate the leaves and roughly chop.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and then add salt. Add the stems, cooking for 20 seconds. Add the leaves and cook for 10 seconds more. (This helps remove some bitterness.) Drain into a colander.
  3. Add oil in preheated wok and stir-fry the garlic until slightly seared, about 1 minute. 
  4. Place Chinese broccoli into wok, add cooking wine and sesame oil. Stir-fry several seconds to mix well and serve immediately.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Loosely adapted from a recipe found on chinasichuanfood.com

Pork Roast with Mushroom Gravy

Seven hours may seem like a long time to make dinner, but much of it is hands off, and it is soooo worth it! Pork Roast with Mushroom Gravy might possibly be “the meal” that I would choose if it was going to be my last. Keep in mind, it needs to cook slowly so that the fat melts and the tough connective tissue softens. The original recipe came from Cook’s Country and it was a great starting point for this long, lazy Sunday afternoon braise.

After 6 hours in the oven, the pork has a nice crust and the mushrooms turn a rich brown.

To build a hearty gravy, start with chicken broth and add water. To maximize the mushroom flavor, toss the mushrooms directly into the roasting pan. This not only imbues the broth with deep, woodsy flavor but also allows the mushrooms to soften and caramelize. We even upped the quantity of the funghi by 20% to a full pound-and-a-half (noted in the list of ingredients).

Sometimes not even grocery stores label pork roasts properly. Were you ever confused between a pork shoulder and pork butt? These two cuts of pork are often mixed up. Both come from the shoulder of the pig, but pork butt is higher on the foreleg, while pork shoulder is farther down—confusing to start with, I know. As relatively tough and fatty cuts, both benefit from long, slow cooking methods such as roasting, stewing, and braising.

To begin with, we doubled the seasonings for the rub, wrapped the pork in plastic wrap, and let it get happy in the fridge overnight. Since we love a good gravy, we also increased by 50%, the amount of liquid (broth and water) that went into the roasting pan. Finally, because we did increase the liquid, we needed to balance the amount of flour to make a roux for the gravy. All of our changes are noted below.

To complete the meal, we made garlicky mashed potatoes—a great vehicle for that mushroom gravy—and a side of Roasted Glazed Parsnips and Carrots with Orange and Thyme, recipe also compliments of Cook’s Country.

Pork Roast with Mushroom Gravy

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 (4- to 5-pound) boneless pork shoulder roast, fat trimmed to 1/8 inch thick
  • 1 Tbsp. dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. dried sage
  • 1 Tbsp.. salt
  • 2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 24 oz. cremini or white mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • 1 1/2 cup  water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. PREP PORK Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Pat pork dry with paper towels and rub all over with 2 teaspoon thyme, 2 teaspoon sage, salt, and pepper. Tie roast at 1-inch intervals with kitchen twine. The roast can be seasoned and refrigerated overnight until ready to cook.
  2. ROAST PORK Arrange roast, fat side up, in roasting pan and cook until beginning to brown, about 3 hours. Add onion, mushrooms, broth, 1 cup water, bay leaf, remaining thyme, and remaining sage to pan and continue to roast until meat is well browned and skewer inserted in center meets no resistance, about 3 hours. Transfer roast to cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest 30 minutes.
  3. STRAIN JUICES Discard onion and bay leaf. Strain contents of roasting pan through fine-mesh strainer into fat separator; reserve mushrooms. Let liquid settle, then pour defatted pan juices (you should have about 2 cups) into measuring cup and add another 1/2 cup water to yield 2½ cups.
  4. MAKE GRAVY Transfer 4 tablespoons of fat from separator (we did not have enough fat so we added butter too) to large saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Stir in flour and cook until golden, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in pan juices and bring to boil. Add reserved mushrooms and simmer over medium-low heat until gravy is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove twine from pork. Cut pork into 1-inch slices. Serve with gravy.

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Adapted from a recipe by Cook’s Country