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Braised Pork Butt with Herbs and Shallots

Braised Pork Butt with Herbs and Shallots
  

We're having another bout of chilly rainy weather here at the seacoast so our food mood turned to the sort of yummy comfort food that fills the kitchen with herby fragrance and warms our bodies from the inside. Pork butt, slowly braised with shallots, rosemary,  vinegar, sugar, juniper berries, tomatoes and thyme -- more typically a fall dish -- was my answer to this primordial need. It filled the bill, and the interesting sweet-sour quality of the sauce made it a hit all around.  Now if we could just get some sunshine around here!

With pork being bred as lean as it is today, the braised pork butt produces surprisingly little excess fat, but it still has enough fat to deliver a flavorful, moist and satisfying meal. The only trick to this dish is to keep the braising temperature as low as possible, as boiling quickly toughens the pork. Served with bok choi Italiano and pan-roasted potatoes.

Braised Port Butt with Herbs and Shallots

Serves 6.

3 lb boneless pork butt, sliced about 1" thick
8 shallots, sliced
olive oil
1/4 C balsamic vinegar
1/4 C red wine vinegar
2 T sugar
1 medium tomato, peeled, seeded, chopped
2 tsp dried thyme
3 sprigs fresh oregano
12 juniper berries, crushed
1/3 C dry white wine

Select a heavy Dutch oven or cast iron skillet with tight-fitting lid that can accommodate the meat in one layer.

Brown the pork in a little olive oil over high heat. Remove to a side plate and pour out all but 2 tablespoons of fat. Lower the heat to medium and sauté the shallots about 8 minutes, stirring, until softened. Add the vinegars and sugar and stir to dissolve sugar. Stir in the tomatoes, herbs and wine. Add the meat, lower heat, cover tightly and braise for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, turning the meat occasionally and adjusting the heat so that the liquid is barely moving.

Remove the meat to a warmed platter and cover. Skim fat from the liquid in the pan and raise heat to boil and quickly reduce the sauce by half. Strain sauce over the meat and serve at once.

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Comments

Now that's the good stuff!

Oh, and *12* juniper berrries- for shame!

Hi S'kat...It was good stuff. I wasn't aware of the 3-berry limit but I was a bit concerned that the juniper would be too strong. It wasn't, however, strong enough to stand forward in any sort of unpleasant way...maybe they were old and had lost their power...!

Stephen,
Sounds excellent. So few people seem to know about juniper berries. I use them in marinades, beef stews, chops & kraut, and even chile on occasion.

Now that's one juicy looking butt!!

So impressive and gourmet looking. Sounds delicious!

Can you recommend a sub for the berries?

hmm yea we're having a spot of rainy weather too, which is why warm yummy dishes are esp good! :)

I can not tell you how wonderful this dish is. I've made it three times in 6 weeks. Being in the South I always have a little cornbread and collard greens with it. I look forward to every new recipe you post. Thanks so much.

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