I wanted to do braised French pork for dinner, but nothing on-line even came close to what I had in mind. I pictured something herby, falling off the bone tender, with a rich pan sauce. Looking in my spice cabinet, I picked out the herbs I thought would go together, not a fines herbes, but a unique blend of my own. It may not be actually a French recipe, but I associate these herbs with French cooking.
I wanted several side dishes to go with my pork. I decided to make green beans and mushrooms as two of my dishes. My son-in-law, Chris, is still on his keto diet, so instead of a starch dish, I made a new variation of cauliflower au gratin. Finally, Jan made Shakers Meyer lemon pie for dessert.
After Dinner Note: As usual, I thought I had made more than enough to feed five people with plenty for leftovers. Silly me. There was a single scoop of the cauliflower, which Chris happily carried off. I had thought they had eaten all of the mushrooms, but I found that Jan had put them away. It made a really good lunch when mixed with some pierogi. Some of the 8 pounds of pork was left and half of the pie (they were really full by then).
Karl’s French Braised Pork
1+ tsp. Kosher salt, separate uses
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. thyme
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. chervil
½ tsp. marjoram
½ tsp. sage
½ tsp. tarragon
10 cloves garlic, crushed
3 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
7-8 lb. shoulder pork roast, bone-in
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery diced
2 cups white wine (I am using pinot gregio)
1. Cut the fat cap off the roast.
Tip: I know that some would consider this a heresy, but Jan has dietary restrictions on too much fat.
2. Jab a small knife into the meat about an inch deep all over the roast, 10-15 jabs per side.
Tip: These cuts give the spice rub channels to flow into the roast.
3. Smear the pork marinade all over the meat and place it into a gallon plastic bag.
Tip: Use the entire batch of spice rub for a 7-8 pound roast. I smear three sides of the roast and then slip it into the bag. I do the other three sides while it is inside the bag. This makes less of a mess.
4. Seal the bag and massage the rub into the cuts you made in the roast. Refrigerate overnight.
5. Bring meat to room temperature, about 1 hour.
6. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
7. Remove the meat from to bag to a lipped tray and use your fingers to push as much of the garlic into the cuts you made earlier. Scrape off any remaining large chunks of garlic and much of the herbs and oil. Reserve the marinade.
Tip: The garlic might burn and turn bitter while you are browning the meat.
8. Heat the 2 tablespoons oil in a wide 6 to 10 quart Dutch oven over moderate high heat, until hot but not smoking.
9. Brown the pork on all sides, about 8 minutes. Remove the pork to a plate.
Tip: Remove any excess fat from the pot. You want about 2 tablespoons remaining, but not much more than that.
10. Add a pinch of salt and sauté the onions and celery in the fat remaining in pot, until beginning to brown.
11. Add the marinade in the lipped tray to the pot and sauté for one more minute.
12. Add a splash of wine to the pot.
Tip: You may substitute water or vegetable broth. This prevents the garlic and herbs from scorching.
13. Return the pork to pot and use some of the remaining wine to rinse off the plate and lipped tray into the pot.
14. Add more wine until it comes half way up the meat.
15. Use a spoon to mix up the wine sauce and baste the meat with it.
16. 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.
17. Braise, turning meat once or twice, until very tender, about 4-5 hours.
Tip: Remove the foil for the last hour. This will allow more of the steam to escape from the pot and reduce your pan sauce. If you loose too much liquid add some more wine after you have removed the excess grease from the pot.
18. Set the Dutch oven on the stove and open the lid. Without disturbing the pork, ladle the grease floating on top of the pan sauce into a fat separator.
Tip: As the pork cooks the fat is rendered and floats to the tops of the liquid in the pot. If you are careful not to stir up the sauce you can remove about 90% of this excess grease.
Note: One trick about using a fat separator. You need to scoop out enough of the actual sauce with the grease so that the good stuff comes up to the top edge of the spout. If you do not do this the grease just pours back into your pot,
19. Leave the Dutch oven on the stove, covered, until you are ready to serve.
Tip: If the wait time is more than half an hour, turn the burner on low to keep the pork and pan sauce warm.
20. Transfer the pork to a serving platter.
Tip: If you like thick gravy, you may blend the onions and celery smooth and/or add some flour mixed with water or wine to the pan sauce.
21. Spoon some of the sauce over the pork and serve the remaining sauce on the side.