Pork shoulder is an inexpensive and juicy cut that lends itself to roasting, grilling and braising. Here it’s paired with prunes, which is a natural marriage of flavors, but you can also use butternut squash combined with a few dried apricots. Serve with polenta and roasted carrots.
Make Ahead Tip: Prepare, let cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Incorporate cornstarch mixture just before serving.
- 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder (picnic or Boston-butt), trimmed and cut into 1 to 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup minced shallots (5 to 6 large)
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar or red-wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dry thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
- 1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
- 2 cups large pitted prunes
- 1 cup tawny port (see Ingredient Note)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Season pork with 1/2 teaspoon salt and plenty of pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil and butter in a large, heavy casserole or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the pork in batches (do not crowd the pot) and cook until browned on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes per batch. Remove to a large plate.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pot. Add shallots and ginger and cook, stirring, until soft and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add brown sugar, vinegar and thyme. Bring to a simmer and immediately add broth. Return the pork to the pot and cover with a tight-fitting lid.
Transfer the pot to the oven and bake until the pork is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven, uncover and let stand for about 15 minutes.
While the stew stands, combine prunes and port in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Skim or blot any visible fat from the stew. Stir in the prunes and port. Return the pot to the stove and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
Combine water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Transfer the pork and prunes to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Return the sauce to a simmer. Stir in the cornstarch mixture a little at a time, stirring and adding more as needed, until the sauce just coats the spoon. Stir the pork, prunes and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt into the sauce and heat through, about 1 minute.
Ingredient Note: Port is a sweet fortified wine that provides depth of flavor in cooking. Tawny port is aged in oak, turning it brown (as opposed to dark-red ruby port). Look for it in your wine or liquor store.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Publisher. All rights reserved.
nutrition information per serving
388 calories; 15g total fat; 5g total saturated fat; 100mg cholesterol; 338mg sodium; 26g carbohydrates; 2g fiber; 29g protein
These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.
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