Braised Pork & Winter Fruit with Potnips

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This is a perfect winter dish using dried fruits and red wine. With slow cooked, braised meat dishes, I prefer to start them in the morning or the day before serving. This gives you time to taste the meat and wait for the perfect tenderness to occur and, the flavors have more time to blend. You can braise the pork in the oven or use a crockpot. Serve the pork with Potnips, recipe below.

A bone-in picnic or shoulder roast is in between the Boston butt or upper shoulder and the hamhock. It has less fat but more connective tissue and a bone down the center. It needs plenty of time to braise gently but the silky rich flavor is worth the wait.

Leftovers make great sandwiches. Add spicy or Dijon mustard and coleslaw.

Serves 4 to 6

  • 2 ½ to 3 lbs.bone-in picnic (shoulder) roast
  • 1 dz. dried apricot halves, figs, prunes, or a mixture
  • ⅓ to ½ cup dark or white seedless raisins
  • 1 cup dry red wine; chicken or pork stock can be substituted
  • ⅔ cup red wine vinegar  
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill (or 1 1/2 Tbsp. dried)
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme (or 1 Tbsp. dried)
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 to 3 Tbls. lard or high-heat oil
  • 4 shallots or or 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 2 to 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ cup honey
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. In a large bowl combine pork, dried fruit, red wine, vinegar, dill, mint, cumin and thyme. Cover and marinade, refrigerated, for 24 hours. Turn meat once.
  2. Bring the meat to room temperature before cooking.
  3. Preheat oven to 325˚F or set the crockpot to high.
  4. Remove pork and fruit from marinade. Reserve fruit in a small bowl. Reserve marinade separately. Pat the pork until very dry with paper towels and lightly sprinkle with salt.
  5. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven large enough to fit the pork comfortably. Add the pork and brown the meat until nicely caramelized and colored. Allow meat to caramelize to a rich brown color before turning or moving. To get a beautiful caramelized coating, the browning process will take 20 to 30 minutes.       
  6. With a slotted spoon transfer pork to a plate (if you will be braising it in the oven) or the crockpot. Drain the oil from the Dutch oven, add the shallots or onion and sauté over medium heat until wilted and golden.
  7. Add the reserved marinade and deglaze the pan by bringing it to a boil, scraping up any browned bits remaining in the pan. Cook for several minutes, until slightly reduced. Add the meat back to the pot. If you are using a crockpot, pour the liquid over the meat.
  8. Stir in the apricots, raisins, half of the chicken stock, the bay leaves and honey; mix well.
  9. Cook the meat, turning once halfway through cooking, until very tender and falling off the bone. Add additional stock if needed.  A 2 ½ to 3 pound roast will take about 4 hours.
  10. Season with additional salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook

Potnips

Growing up, my mom made Potnips, potatoes and turnips cooked together. With this pork dish, I mix potatoes and parsnips for a hint of sweetness.

  • Use 1 small to medium potato and one medium parsnip per person
  • Butter
  • Milk, kefir or yogurt
  • Sea salt and white pepper
  1. Started a pot of water to boil large enough to cover the potatoes. Generously salt the water.
  2. Peel the parsnips and cut them into ½-inch pieces. Drop them in the water to cook until very tender.
  3. Meanwhile peel the potatoes and cut into large chunks.
  4. Strain the parsnips and lay them on a towel or paper towel to drain and dry.
  5. Add the potatoes to the salted water and boil until tender. Drain well.
  6. Add both vegetables to the bowl of a stand mixer, or use a handheld mixer. Whip the Potnips adding butter, dairy, salt and white pepper to taste.