This Wine-Braised Boston Butt** is based on a French Daube (stew) but I didn't want stew. I've been craving a butt roast to plays games with. Yes, I know that sounds a bit strange but I wanted a whole roast slowly braised instead of the stew-sized pieces typical of a daube. Nevertheless, like a daube, I began by marinating the meat for 24 hours in red wine, chopped vegetables (mirepoix), fresh herbs and spices. The meat is then slowly cooked in the marinade at low temperature – I use a Dutch oven in the oven but you could also use a slow cooker. You will have leftovers, but that's what I love about this dish and the fact that they freeze beautifully.
- 2/3 bottle red wine (I prefer a Zinfandel)
- 2 sprigs rosemary (rolled between your palms)
- 2 sprigs thyme (rolled between your palms)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons juniper berries (cracked*)
- 2 teaspoons peppercorns (cracked*)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 medium onion (chopped)
- 1 carrot (chopped)
- 1 stalk celery (chopped and leafy-greens reserved)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 3 1/2 to 3 pounds bone-in Boston butt (or pork shoulder**)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (or bacon fat or lard)
- Combine all ingredients except pork (including celery greens) in a 1 gallon zippered bag. Shake (carefully) to combine ingredients. Add pork and marinate for at least 24 hours in the refrigerator.
- Every 4 hours (skip this while you're sleeping) remove from fridge, remix, and reposition it fridge to make sure all meat is exposed to marinade.
- Four hours before serving, heat oven to 250 degrees if using a Dutch oven or high if you are using a slow cooker. Remove meat from bag (reserving marinade) and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper.
- Heat oil or fat in the Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown roast on all sides. Add marinade, bring to a boil and scrape up browned bits. Note: the liquid should come halfway up the roast, if not add more wine.
- If using a slow cooker, heat oil or fat in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Brown roast on all sides. Place roast in cooker. Add marinade to skillet, bring to a boil and scrape up browned bits (fond). Add to cooker. Note: the liquid should come halfway up the roast, if not add more wine.
- Cook 4 hours. Remove from pot and let roast rest covered with foil.
- Pick bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, and celery green out of marinade.
- Cut meat into large pieces (it will be too tender to slice). Drizzle with cooking au jus and serve with crusty bread.
Leftovers: Add shredded meat to remaining sauce. Serve over smashed potatoes, polenta, or rice. Or make the equivalent of a French dip by heating and then stuffing in a hoagie bun.
*Note 1: Crush both juniper berries and peppercorns by placing in a small zippered bag and pounding with a meat mallet, heavy skillet, or even an empty wine bottle (be careful with the last one).
**Note 2: Boston butt is actually a shoulder cut. It's called a "butt" because it used to be cured and packed in wooden barrels (butts) for shipping. And while 3 1/2 pounds may seem like a lot of meat, it's not in this case.
|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Total Fat||56 g|
|Saturated Fat||20 g|
|Unsaturated Fat||25 g|
|Dietary Fiber||4 g|