Pomegranate and Spice-Braised Pork

Pork shoulder roast is also known as Boston butt. This cut benefits from long, slow roasting or braising. Try braising some pork bones along with the pork shoulder. While cooking, they'll release a tiny bit of gelatin to give the dish a rich, unctuous texture.

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 to 4 pounds bone-in pork shoulder roast
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 6 slices fresh ginger, 1/8-inch thick and about the size of a quarter
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 stick cinnamon, about 2 inches long
  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
  • 2 cups dry, fruity red wine
  • 2 cups unsweetened pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, or to taste


Instructions

1. Season all sides of the pork with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat and sear until dark golden brown, turning as necessary. Remove the meat from the skillet and set aside.

2. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a Dutch oven just large enough to hold the roast. Add the onion and sautée until translucent, then add the garlic and cook until aromatic. Add the ginger, star anise, cinnamon and peppercorns. Put the pork in the Dutch oven and add the wine, pomegranate juice, soy sauce, fish sauce and hoisin. The liquid should come at least halfway up on the roast. If not, add more wine and pomegranate juice (in equal amounts) or water.

3. Stir, cover and bring to a simmer. Check the level of tartness after 30 minutes, then add brown sugar if needed to balance the acidity of the wine and tartness of the juice. Continue at a low simmer for another hour, then turn the roast and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours or more, until the meat is fork-tender.

4. Remove the meat to a platter and keep warm. Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce by about 1/4 to 1/2. Strain and discard solids. Remove the bone from the meat (it should easily release on its own) and cut the meat into serving portions. Return meat to the sauce to rewarm, if needed, then serve, spooning the sauce over the meat.

Note: The roast can be made ahead and reheated. The flavors meld and the meat becomes more intensely flavored as it rests overnight in the sauce - especially if the meat is sliced or shredded first.

From an article by Lynne Char Bennett that appeared in the November 4, 2004 issue of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Prep time: 
20 minutes
Cook time: 
About 2 hours
Total time: 
About 2 1/2 hours
Yield: 
Serves 6

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