Apple cider braised pork shoulder

It’s fall.  It’s raining.  It’s cold.  It’s time for comfort food.  I picked this recipe to try out today because I like the combination of apple and pork.  It gives a very “autumn” flavor.  The active prep time and effort is pretty minimal compared to the effect of the presentation.  After I stuck the dutch oven in the oven, I went and had a nap.  It was nice to wake up to the aroma of the dish!

The 3-lb shoulder we got made enough to feed at least 6 adults, so there’s plenty of left over for another quick and easy meal.

The recipe is taking from Epicurious.  It’s pretty critical to serve the pork with the caramelized onions.  Tonight we ate it with the fat still in the cooking liquid, which was fine, but it was a bit too rich for my liking.  So the next time I make it, I would make the dish a day ahead, refrigerate it, so that I can skim off the fat from the cooking liquid more easily, then reheat it in the oven before serving.

To side track a little, I had to buy a big jug of apple cider to make this dish, so I had a lot of apple cider left.  I put a few cups of it in a sauce pan, added cloves, cinnamon sticks, all spice berries, a slice of ginger, and simmered for 20 minutes to make spiced apple cider.  So yummy.

Ingredients

  • 1 (3- to 4-lb) bone-in fresh pork shoulder half (preferably arm picnic)
  • 2 garlic cloves, cut into slivers
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lb onions (5 or 6 medium), halved lengthwise, then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 3/4 cup unfiltered apple cider

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Score fat and any skin on pork in a crosshatch pattern. Make slits all over meat with a small sharp knife and insert a garlic sliver in each slit. Pat pork dry and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat oil in a 4- to 5-quart ovenproof heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown meat on all sides, turning occasionally with the aid of tongs and a carving fork, about 8 minutes. Transfer pork to a plate.
  4. Add onions to pot and sauté over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and starting to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Add 3/4 teaspoon salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden and caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes more.
  5. Stir in cider and return pork to pot.
  6. Cover pot with a tight-fitting lid and braise pork in middle of oven until very tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
  7. Transfer pork to a serving dish with the aid of tongs and carving fork. Boil cooking juices with onions until mixture is reduced to about 2 cups, 2 to 3 minutes, then season with salt and pepper and serve with pork.

Pork can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, uncovered, then chill, covered. Reheat in liquid, covered, at 325°F 1 hour.

 

Beautiful cut of pork shoulder from Market Meats.

Beautiful cut of pork shoulder from Market Meats.

Searing all sides of the pork shoulder.

Searing all sides of the pork shoulder.

Apple cider braised pork shoulder.

Apple cider braised pork shoulder.

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