This easy braised pork recipe is like pot roast made with pork instead of beef. Pork shoulder is a great choice for braising because cooking it slowly with moist heat helps break down the connective tissue between the muscles, so it turns out moist and magnificently tender.
In addition to the usual carrots, celery, and onion (or in this case, leeks), this recipe also includes some thinly sliced fresh fennel bulb, which is a wonderful aromatic vegetable with a unique sweetness that pairs well with the pork. And of course pineapple juice, which makes up part of the braising liquid, is a classic companion with pork.
To prepare this dish the old-fashioned way, you'll need a large Dutch oven or brazier—one with a tight-fitting lid, big enough to accommodate the meat and stock, and safe for both stovetop and oven. But you can make it in a crockpot or slow-cooker, too.
- 4 lbs boneless pork shoulder, excess fat removed
- ¼ cup canola oil (or other vegetable oil)
- 3 large leeks (green tops removed), chopped
- 2 medium ribs celery, chopped
- 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and slightly crushed
- 2 cups thinly sliced fennel bulb (optional)
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1 cup canned diced tomatoes (including liquid)
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 300 F (150 C).
- In a heavy, cast-iron dutch oven or brazier, heat the oil over high heat, then add the pork and sear it thoroughly, using a pair of tongs to turn it. When a nice brown crust has developed on all sides of the meat, remove it from the pan and set it aside.
Tip: To enhance the browning of the meat, pat off excess moisture with clean paper towels before searing it.
- Add the carrots, celery, leeks, sliced fennel and garlic to the pot and sauté for 5 minutes or so, or until the leeks and fennel are slightly soft.
- Now return the meat to the pot and add the tomatoes, juice, stock, bay leaves and peppercorns. Heat on the stovetop until the liquid comes to a boil, then cover with a tight-fitting lid and transfer the whole thing to the oven.
- Cook 3 to 4 hours or until the pork is tender.
- Remove pot from the oven and leave the meat in the braising liquid while you do the next step to make a simple pork jus.
- Ladle out around two cups of the braising liquid and pour it through a mesh strainer. Skim off any fat from the top and bring the remaining liquid to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce for about five minutes, and season to taste with Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper.
- Remove the pork from the liquid, slice across the grain, arrange slices on warm plates with plenty of pork jus and serve right away.
Note: You can cool and store any leftover pork in the braising liquid so that it will stay nice and moist.
|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Total Fat||50 g|
|Saturated Fat||15 g|
|Unsaturated Fat||23 g|
|Dietary Fiber||3 g|