Pork is my favorite meat because it has so much flavor without having to do much to it. Pork shoulder or pork butt, as it is sometimes called, is my favorite cut of pork because of all the marbling or fat, and fat translates into flavor. Pork shoulder is definitely a meat that needs to be slow roasted and if you try and cook this cut too fast, it won’t have time to render its fat.
There are many recipes out there for pulled pork, which I happen to love, but in this recipe for Easy Braised Pork Shoulder with Tomatoes & Olives, you will love the texture and the delicious sauce that is created when the cooking is complete. You can serve this dish for a more upscale dinner party or casually outside under the stars with friends and it tastes lovely over creamy grits or polenta, but mashed butternut squash or potatoes would be nice too. This recipe feeds six comfortably and you can always braise a larger pork shoulder for big parties if needed, just increase the cooking time.
2 1/2 – 3 pounds pork shoulder
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup dry red wine, any varietal
4 anchovy fillets
28-ounce can plum tomatoes
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoon dried thyme or herbs de provence
1 cup mixed olives, seeds removed
stone ground grits or polenta, optional (prepare according to package)
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Remove the 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 the pork and sear on all sides, about 10 minutes.
2. While the pork is searing, slice the leeks in half and cut off the dark green ends. Wash the leeks thoroughly and dry them, slice into half moon pieces.
3. Remove the pork from the pot and reserve on a plate. In the same pot, add the leeks and saute on medium heat for 4 minutes, or until soft. Next, add the garlic and continue to cook for 2 minutes.
4. Then, add the red wine, anchovies, bay leaf and dried thyme. Stir the sauce and cook for 1 minute. Place the pork back into the pot with the sauce.
5. Turn the heat off. Place the lid on the pot and put the pork in the oven to braise for 2 1/2 hours.
6. After 2 1/2 hours, remove the lid and add the olives to the pot. Increase the temperature of the oven to 425 degrees. Allow the pork to roast for another 40 minutes. While the pork is roasting the final 40 minutes, prepare the grits or polenta, optional.
7. When the pork is done, remove it from the oven. Place the pork on a wood cutting board and slice or shred.
8. Serve the Braised Pork Shoulder with a nice spoon of sauce. Enjoy!