Pork shoulder or pork butt, as it is sometimes called, is my favorite cut of pork because it’s packed with flavor due to all the marbling or fat, and fat translates into flavor. Pork shoulder is definitely a meat that needs to be slow roasted, so the meat has time to render most of its fat and become tender and succulent.
Pulled pork has been a favorite for years and it’s often prepared at southern barbecue restaurants with a sweet-sticky sauce. I prefer my pork a little more savory and this braised pork recipe is definitely different. I use red wine, tomatoes and leeks for a slightly French approach to this classic meal. The sauce becomes rich with umami flavors and a few minced anchovies adds even more depth to the already rich broth.
This pork dinner is definitely a Social Sunday meal and it’s fun to serve at a dinner party because it feeds a crowd. I recommend ladling the braised pork over creamy grits or polenta, but mashed butternut squash or potatoes would also be nice. This is one meal that deserves a big red wine to sip alongside.
2 1/2 – 3 pounds pork shoulder
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup dry red wine, any varietal
4 anchovy fillets, minced
28 ounces can plum tomatoes
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons dried thyme or herbs de provence
1 cup mixed olives, seeds removed
stone ground grits or polenta, optional (prepare according to package)
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove pork from any packaging and sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. In a large oven-safe pot, add 3 tablespoons of grapeseed oil and place over medium-high heat. Add pork and sear on all sides, about 10 minutes.
2. While pork is searing, slice leeks in half and cut off dark green ends. Wash leeks thoroughly and slice into half moon pieces.
3. Remove pork from pot and reserve on a plate. In same pot, add leeks and saute on medium heat for 4 minutes, or until soft. Add garlic and continue to cook for 2 minutes.
4. Add red wine, anchovies, bay leaf and dried thyme. Stir sauce and cook for 1 minute. Place pork back into pot and remove from heat. Place lid on pot and place pork in oven to braise for 2 1/2 hours.
5. After 2 1/2 hours, remove lid and add olives to pot, stir. Increase temperature of the oven to 425 degrees. Allow pork to roast for another 40 minutes. While pork is roasting, prepare grits or polenta, optional. Place pork on a wood cutting board and slice or shred. Serve with a ladle of sauce. Enjoy!