Yes, le pièce de résistance for our prepared dinner this Christmas, a hefty 4 pound pork shoulder rubbed in spices and then braised in carrots, celery, onion, red wine, and fresh thyme and rosemary. Although time consuming (in the oven for 6 hours),the actual work necessary for this dish is quite minimal and mostly at the beginning. The recipe I’m sharing with you is directly from my husband, and even if he’s already thinking of what he’d do next time, I’ll tell you that this was delicious as it is. The great thing about braising is that you can do a lot of different things and still get great results! Hope you enjoy.
(Need a pre-cursor to this dish? Check out the tomato and goat cheese crostinis I served right before this)
For the Rub:
The night before, Jabez made a blend of spices and rubbed the meat. For our four pound hunk, he used:
3 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Stir all that goodness together with a fork and rub over each side of your meat. When it’s good and covered, place it in a shallow bowl or pan and leave in the fridge (uncovered) for 12 hours or so before you’re going to roast it.
Other Stuff You’ll Need:
Note: You don’t want to overcrowd your pot, adjust when necessary
1/2 a large yellow onion, sliced
4 large carrots, cleaned and cut in half
2 stalks of celery, cleaned and chopped into small pieces
1 full bottle of Laya 2013 (a granacha and monastrell blend) or any other of your favorite full bodied yet sweet red wines
As many sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary as you desire (we used about 15 of each)
- Place a dutch oven on the stove and bring to a medium/high heat (watch the heat, cast iron conducts heat extremely well). When warm, pour a tablespoon or two of olive oil onto the pan so that it slides easily, but doesn’t burn. Sear the meat on each side, getting a nice brown – remember you’re not trying to cook the meat yet, you’re just sealing in all the flavor and juices. As you sear, you’ll notice a “fond” forming at the bottom of your pan. It’s basically roasted spices that are coming off the meat and charring. YOU WANT THIS. You’ll see why in a minute.
- After your meat has been seared on each side, pull it out and place it on a cutting board nearby. Put all your veggies in there, sweat them out and this will create a secondary layer of “fond”.
- After the veggies are sweated, pour a little red wine in the pan to lift the fond off – also called “deglazing”. Put the meat back in the pot and fill with the rest of the wine and the sprigs of rosemary and thyme. The liquid should be over halfway up the hunk of meat, but no more than 3/4.
- Place the lid on and put in a 275 degree oven for approximately 6 hours or until you can pull the meat off with hardly any effort. Ours was in for a total of 5 hours and 30 minutes.
When you take the meat out of the oven. Leave it in the pot, and covered to rest in the braising liquid for about an hour. The reason being, allowing your meat to rest gives it time for the braising liquid and the flavors to sink back into the meat, rounding out the taste. A further explanation of this can be found here.
In my kitchen:
4.25 qt Le Creuset chef’s oven