Karl’s Caucasus Style Braised Pork Shoulder

Adapted from Gourmet magazine

I have been looking at the recipes on Georgia About with hungry eyes, I am talking about gee-OR-gee-a. If you search for Georgian recipes you will get three things: 1) Southern U.S. Georgian recipes, 2) late 18th century English Georgian cooking, 3) and a few recipes from the country of Georgia. With this as my inspiration I started to create a Georgian feast for this Sunday.

Karl’s Caucasus Style Braised Pork Shoulder

Karl’s Caucasus Style Braised Pork Shoulder

My plan was complicated by two things; my picky eaters and the unavailability of key ingredients.  Two of my diners eat little or no starch. While the recipes on Georgia About all looked delicious, most of them combined meat and some form of starch. I was not able to find a Georgian pork roast recipe but I did find one for Caucasus pork. The Caucasus region includes: Southwestern Russia and northern parts of Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Two key ingredients of Georgian cooking are the spice blue fenugreek and matsoni, a thin yogurt. These are difficult to obtain outside of Georgia, so I am going to have to adapt. To be Georgian this pork should be made with blue fenugreek. “Regular” fenugreek tastes almost the same, but is slightly stronger. Use one and a half teaspoons of spice if you make this dish with blue fenugreek.

Karl’s Caucasus Style Braised Pork Shoulder


2 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. fenugreek seeds
½ tsp. Indian chili powder (or hot red pepper flakes)
10 large garlic cloves
1½ tsp. Kosher salt, separate uses
4 tablespoons olive oil, separate uses
1 pork shoulder roast, bone in, trimmed of excess fat (about 4-5 lb.)

1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
2 cups chicken broth (or water)
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 Tbs. red-wine vinegar
½ tsp. Black pepper


1. Toast the coriander and fenugreek seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, about 4 minutes. After 3 minutes add the chili flakes. Grind to a powder.

2. Mash the garlic to a paste with one teaspoon of salt and then add 2 tablespoons of oil and the spice powder. Mix thoroughly.

3. Make 2-inch-deep slits all over meat with a small sharp knife and push some of paste into slits. Rub remaining paste all over meat.

4. Put the pork in a gallon plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

5. Bring meat to room temperature, about 1 hour.

6. Preheat the oven to 350° F.

7. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a wide 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking.

8. Brown the pork on all sides, about 8 minutes. Remove the pork to a plate.

Tip: The marinade has a lot of garlic in it and it will form a crust that might stick to the pot. Scrap these bits out before you sauté the onions or they will burn and turn bitter. Return the bit to the pot when the onions are done.

9. Add the remaining salt and sauté onion in the fat remaining in pot, until beginning to brown.

10. Return the pork to pot and add the chicken broth until it comes half way up the meat.

Tip: You may substitute water or vegetable broth.

11. Bring the pot to a boil and lay a sheet of foil over the top to help seal the lid. Cover the pot and transfer it to the oven.

12. Braise, turning meat once, until very tender, about 3 hours.

13. Cool pork in pan juices and then chill, covered.

14. One hour before dinner, remove any large lumps of congealed fat and reheat the pork, covered, in a 350° F oven.

15. After for one half hour remove the cover, spoon some of the pan sauce over the meat and continue heating for 30 minutes.

16. Transfer the pork to a serving platter and tent with the foil to keep it warm.

17. If necessary reduce the pan juices by half and then stir in the cilantro, vinegar, and pepper to taste.

18. Spoon some of the sauce over the pork and the remainder on the side.

1 Comment

Filed under Main Dishes, Pork

One response to “Karl’s Caucasus Style Braised Pork Shoulder

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