This Wine Braised Pork Shoulder will make your winter 296% happier with its succulent tender meat, fresh herbs and thick, silky sauce. What doesn’t get absorbed by the cous cous should definitely be mopped up with some crusty bread.
This wine braised pork shoulder recipe is an adult version of the pork stew my mom made for me when I was growing up. For every special occasion as well as every time I needed a little extra encouragement my mom was there with kisses and a steaming bowl of pork deliciousness in her hands. Like many American teenagers I pretty much took it for granted. But, in retrospect, I’m so incredibly thankful. Not to mention hungry 😉
When I got the idea (aka “craving”) to put a pork stew recipe on the blog I wanted to just reprint my mom’s. Why reinvent the savory, lip-smacking wheel?? HOWEVER, she was in the middle of moving house and her recipe box was all packed away. So, the god of laziness had a good laugh at my expense and I got busy in the kitchen trying to recreate it. And, if possible, even improve upon it.
The clearest memory I have of my mom’s stew is that it was loaded with sage. So I included plenty of it in my bouquet garni along with fresh thyme. You can’t go wrong with any fresh herb. So feel free to play.
I couldn’t remember if my mom used wine or stock back in the day so I used both. A nice juicy red wine. And chicken bone broth for a little added collagen. I also use pearl onions which, if you cook it long enough, simply dissolve into the savory sauce.
Pork shoulder gets a bad rap for being tough but if you a) cut it small enough or b) cook it long enough you’ll be completely sold on this inexpensive cut of meat. Cutting the skin off can be a little intimidating the first time. Just use a really sharp knife.
I guess I’m old-fashioned because I will always always always choose cooking this stew longer than “necessary.” I mean, define necessary!! This baby only gets better with time. It will likely be “done” around the two hour mark. But I let it go at least four when I can. The worst that can happen is you have to add a little more wine for more sauce. Not a problem.
A large part of the joy I get out of this recipe is in the making of it. Not just the eating. Nothing makes a cold, dark winter day better for me than a savory dish simmering away on the stove for hours. And knowing my kids and husband will be greeted by that welcoming aroma when they walk in the door gives me the warm fuzzies.
And now my inner Donna Reed has been outed. Take advantage of it! Grab this recipe and inject some joy into your winter dinnertime.
Wine Braised Pork Shoulder, a gourmet comfort food recipe for these long winter months.
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 ounces (118 grams) diced pancetta
- 1.5 ounces (44 grams) minced shallot
- 1 bag (approx. 227 grams) white pearl onions halved and peeled
- 2.5 to 3 pounds (1200 grams) boneless pork shoulder cut into large chunks
- 475 ml fruity red wine
- 224 ml chicken bone broth (or stock)
- 1.5 ounces (46 grams) carrots washed well and cut into large chunks
- 1 fistful fresh thyme stalks
- 1 1/2 fistfuls fresh sage leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 Tbsp butter
- fresh parsley chopped
- whole wheat cous cous prepared according to package instructions
Drizzle olive oil into a dutch oven or braiser set over medium high heat. When shimmering, add pancetta and shallots. Stir to coat and let simmer one to two minutes.
Add pearl onions, cut side down and cook relatively undisturbed for two to three minutes.
Add pork, sprinkle with salt and pepper and brown on all sides, about 2 minutes per side.
Add wine and bone broth and scrape fond off the bottom of the pot. Add carrots.
Make bouquet garni by wrapping the thyme, sage and bay leaves in cheesecloth and tying off with string. Submerge in the liquid in the pot.
Bring liquid to a boil then cover the pot and bring the flame to low.
Mixture should simmer very gently, if you’ve got vigorous bubbles your flame is too high
Stir gently every half hour.
Cook like this, covered, until the pork is fork tender. It will take at least one hour, likely more. Don’t fear overcooking. Like I said, I often let it go for four hours.
When pork has reached desired tenderness, remove solids from the pot to a bowl using a slotted spoon and bring the flame under the pot back up to high. Bouquet garni can be discarded at this point.
Let liquid boil, uncovered until it’s reduced by at least half. When it is as thick as you like it, lower the heat and stir in the butter.
Reintroduce the solids to the sauce and stir to coat thoroughly. Allow to simmer gently, uncovered, an additional fifteen minutes.
Serve garnished with parsely over whole wheat cous cous and/or with a rustic loaf of bread. A salad of bitter greens also makes a nice accompaniment.