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Pork with Onions & Prunes over Polenta

Source: Fine Cooking Issue No. 31
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Active Time:  50 Minutes
Total Time:  1 Hour 45 Minutes
  Serves four
Be sure the oven is up to temperature before you start the polenta. Adding the white wine in stages for repeated reductions goes a long way toward deepening the flavor and color of this stew.
For the Glazed Onions:
12 small white onions, an X cut in the root end, blanched, drained, and peeled
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon sugar
For the Pork:
1 1/2 lb. pork shoulder or butt, fat trimmed, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch ground cinnamon
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
Pinch dried rosemary, crumbled
Pinch dried thyme, crumbled
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
3 cloves garlic
2 medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 bay leaf
salt to taste
1 3/4 cups homemade or low-salt canned chicken stock
8 large dried pitted prunes, soaked in hot water to soften
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
For the Polenta:
1 cup medium-coarse polenta, preferably organic stone-ground
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt; more to taste
Pork with Onions & Prunes over Polenta Recipe at
TO COOK THE ONIONS: In a small skillet, combine the onions, 1/4 cup water, butter, and sugar; bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, until the water evaporates and the onions are just tender; about 5 minutes. Cook uncovered over low heat until the onions are well browned, about 8 minutes. Set aside, uncovered.

TO PREPARE THE PORK: Toss the pork with the olive oil, cinnamon, pepper, rosemary, and thyme. In a heavy, 5-qt. Dutch oven, brown the pork over medium heat for about 5 minutes, adding no fat to the pan. Increase the heat to medium-high and sauté, stirring frequently, until any moisture has evaporated and the pork is thoroughly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the pork to a bowl. Reduce the heat to medium and add the chopped onion to the remaining pan juices. Cook until the onion is soft and starting to brown, about 6 minutes, and then add it to the reserved pork. Add the vinegar, mustard, and 1/2 cup of the wine to the pot. Heat to boiling, scraping up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan. Reduce to a glaze. Add another 1/2 cup wine; again, reduce it to a glaze. Repeat with the last 1/2 cup wine. Add the garlic, carrots, and bay leaf to the pot. Return the pork, onions, and any accumulated juices to the pot, season with salt, and add the stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat. Simmer gently until barely tender, 45 to 55 minutes.

TO PREPARE THE POLENTA: Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. In an oiled 3-qt. nonstick ovenproof skillet, combine the cornmeal, water, and salt. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes. Stir the polenta, taste, add salt if needed, and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the polenta rest in the pan for 5 minutes before pouring it onto a serving platter.

TO ASSEMBLE: After 45 minutes of simmering, add the prunes and glazed onions to the meat. Continue cooking, uncovered, until the pork is very tender and the stew is thickened (about another 15 minutes), stirring occasionally. Remove the pot from the heat, discard the bay leaf, and adjust the seasonings. Set aside until the polenta is ready. If necessary, gently reheat the stew to bubbling and serve on top of the hot polenta, sprinkled with chopped parsley.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Fine Cooking Magazine. All rights reserved.
Date Added: 01/01/2008
Nutrition Facts per Serving
Yield:   Serves four
Calories: 775
Fat. Total: 27g
Fiber: 9g
Carbohydrates, Total: 74g
Sodium: 1280mg
% Cal. from Fat: 31%
Cholesterol: 129mg
Protein: 46g
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