April 10, 2013

Roast Pork Shoulder in Champagne

The thing about having your roommate get married is that there's a lot of champagne in the house. (Also that she's getting married, of course!) But every now and then someone brings a bottle that you cannot bear to drink, no matter how late in the evening or how much good orange juice you have. (Call me snobby, but I can't possibly imagine anyone drinking sparkling wine from a screw top bottle. Wine yes, all the time, even from a box sometimes, but not sparkling wine.)

What to do? What to do? Cook with it!

Serves 6

One 3 1/2-pound fresh picnic pork shoulder with skin
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion finely diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon powdered mustard
1/2 teaspoon chili powder optional
1/4 teaspoon cayenne optional
3/4 cup tarragon vinegar, or good white wine vinegar
2 cups sparkling wine
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 large sage sprigs
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons snipped chives
1-2 tablespoons flour for gravy

Preheat the oven to 300°. Using a sharp knife, score the pork skin in a crosshatch pattern. Make deep slits all over the pork and insert a slice of garlic into each slit. Season the pork with salt and pepper.

In a large enameled cast-iron dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium. Add the pork, turning, until browned all over, 8-12 minutes. Transfer the pork back to the cutting board.

Add the onions to the casserole and cook over low heat, stirring, until lightly browned, 5 minutes. Stir in the cumin, coriander, mustard chili powder, and cayenne. Add the vinegar and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the casserole. Return the pork and any accumulated juices to the casserole. Add the wine, stock, and sage. Cover and braise in the oven for 3 hours, or until the pork is very tender.

Carefully transfer the pork to a platter and cover with foil. Set the casserole over high heat and boil the braising liquid until it is slightly reduced and thickened, about 10 minutes, sprinkling flour over it and whisking to incorporate. Slice the pork and serve with the gravy.

Notes: This can be adapted for a smaller shoulder, if you desire. I used a 1 1/2 pound shoulder, and simply eliminated the extra stock, reducing the cooking time to about 70 minutes. (Internal temperature should be 165°.) The gravy is mmmmm-delicious, and should be saved in a jar for spreading on sandwiches of leftovers. This is a great roast to make on a Sunday afternoon, and then use the leftovers for the week. Adapted from Food & Wine

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