Part I: Braised Crispy Pork with Caramelized Onion Gravy
It might be warming up outside, but I’m still in comfort-food mode, all the way. Apparently so are our friends Rishia & Andrew Zimmern, because when we decided to have dinner together last night, Andrew’s mind was on braised pork with gravy and an endive gratin (more on the gratin later). Thank goodness, since as everyone knows, Friends that Braise Together Stay Together, and we don’t get to see the Zimmern family as often as we’d like these busy days.
Plus, since I’ve braised beef and lamb aplenty this season, a turn with succulent pork (shoulder) sounded ridiculously good, especially a falling-off-the-bone, crispy-at-the-edges version, smothered in caramelized onion gravy. Hey, if you’re going there, might as well go there, right? That sun feels warm, but it’s still February.
In case you forgot.
(I just poured the glass of wine for the photo…?)
I do have to admit that the pork and gratin, combined with the beautiful tomato-feta salad, and deadly, deadly molten chocolate cakes (more on the molten cakes later) that Andrew whipped up, put me a bit over the top. It could be that I talk a good game but in the end, I can’t really eat pork and butter and cream and chocolate all in the same meal without hurting myself a little bit.
Or maybe I just couldn’t yesterday. I’ll certainly try again another day and let you know.
Braised Crispy Pork with Caramelized Onion Gravy
4 lb. pork shoulder roast
1 Tbsp. peanut or safflower oil (or any high-heat oil)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried sage
1 bay leaf
2 c. dry white wine
1 c. chicken broth
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Pat pork roast dry with paper towels, then sprinkle all sides with coarse salt. Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil and when it’s hot, add the pork shoulder. Brown the pork thoroughly on all sides. Using tongs, remove the pork to a plate and set it aside. Drain all but 1 Tbsp. of fat from the pan, return the pan to the heat, and add the onions. Sprinkle the onions lightly with a little salt, stir them around to coat them with oil, then turn the heat to low and saute slowly, until the onions soften and then gradually become golden brown, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes. Stir the thyme, sage, and bay leaf into the onions and saute for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the white wine and chicken broth, then nestle the pork back into the pan. Cover tightly and bring to a simmer, then transfer the pan to the oven. Braise in the oven for 3 hours, or until pork is very tender, even falling off the bone.
To finish, remove the pork to a cutting board. Turn the oven up to 450 degrees F. Slice the pork into 1-inch thick pieces, discarding extra fat as you go. Lay the pieces out on a baking sheet and drizzle a bit of the pan juices over the slices. Place the pan in the hot oven and roast for 15 minutes, or until pork is sizzling and browning on the bottom and at the edges. While the pork roasts, skim any fat off of the pan juices, then taste and correct seasoning. Serve pork with sauce.