Monday, August 30, 2010

Slow-Braised Pork with Grapes and Balsamic

I'm trying to make one non-vegetarian meal a week. I'm not a vegetarian by any stretch of the imagination, so this shouldn't be a challenge ... and yet when I bought groceries last week, I was so enamored by the fresh vegetables that I passed on the meat (unless you count using fish or oyster sauce as a non-vegetarian meal and I don't quite think that's enough). This dish was amazing. I did substitute Ontario Coronation (blue) grapes for the original black, but I think it helped cut back on the sweetness some reviewers complained of. I made no other changes (other than using a smaller cut of meat and accidentally grabbing the canola oil instead of the olive oil). My only regret is that I didn't go to Maison du Roti to pick up some better pork. Next time I'll know better though. I served this over a bed of polenta. Mashed potatoes would also be good. Just make sure you have something to soak up the delicious sauce!

Slow-Braised Pork with Grapes and Balsamic (from

1.5 kg boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), trimmed, cut into 3 equal pieces
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
8 large shallots, halved, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 3 cups)
3 cups seedless black grapes (I used blue)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 large fresh sage sprigs
4 large fresh thyme sprigs
2 large fresh rosemary sprigs

1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
2. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Add pork to pot and cook until browned on all sides, about 13 minutes total. Transfer pork to plate.
3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in same pot over medium heat. Add shallots and grapes; sauté until shallots are golden, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes.
4. Add sugar; sauté 30 seconds.
5. Add vinegar; bring mixture to boil and cook until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes.
6. Add broth, all herb sprigs, and pork with juices from plate. Bring to boil.
7. Cover pot and transfer to oven. Braise pork 1 hour.
8. Using tongs, turn pork over and continue braising until meat is very tender, about 45 minutes longer.
9. Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to platter; tent with foil.
10. Remove herb sprigs from pot and skim fat from surface of cooking liquid.
11. Boil cooking liquid over high heat until thickened, about 7 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Pour over pork and serve.

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