Recipe: Cider Braised Pork Shoulder with Apples and Sage
A new home has a funny but real emptiness in the corners, which get filled with each person, conversation, libation, cuddle, chore, meal, and joke that you share. As the days begin to get longer here in Seattle and the rain patters less frequently against the window, I have found myself returning to the kitchen. I have found myself filling my corners.
Last Sunday brought the family for a simple yet elegant dinner of Cider Braised Pork Shoulder, slow cooked until it melts in your mouth and served with toothsome apples and a crackle of dried sage. Thanks to cutting the pork shoulder down into approximately one pound pieces, you can enjoy a braised meal that doesn’t take all day.
Cider Braised Pork Shoulder with Apples and Sage
Adapted from Bon Appétit, Generously serves 6
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 5 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 6 pieces
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 medium shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups apple cider, preferably fresh
- 2 tablespoons (or more) apple cider vinegar
- 3 tart, firm apples (such as Pink Lady or Honeycrisp), cut into 1/2-inch wedges (about 4 cups)
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Chopped sage
Place a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 325°. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring often, until browned and crisp, 6-8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
Increase heat to medium-high. Add butter to pot with drippings. Season pork shoulder with salt and pepper. Working in batches if needed, cook pork shoulder, reducing heat as needed to prevent overbrowning, until brown on all sides, 8-10 minutes per batch. Transfer pork shoulder to a plate.
Add shallots to pot and cook, stirring often, until shallots begin to soften, about 4 minutes.
Remove pot from heat; add apple cider and 2 tablespoon vinegar, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Return to heat and simmer for 1 minute. Bring to a simmer, then return pork shoulder to pot.
Cover pot and transfer to oven. Braise pork shoulder, turning after 1 hour, until fork-tender, about 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Bacon and pork shoulder can be cooked 2 days ahead. Let cool in braising liquid, uncovered. Chill, uncovered, until cold; cover and keep chilled. Rewarm before continuing.
Using tongs, transfer pork to a deep platter. Skim fat from cooking liquid. Place pot over medium heat and bring liquid to a simmer. Add apples and cook until apples are just tender and sauce is slightly reduced, 8-10 minutes.
Stir Dijon mustard into sauce; season with salt, pepper, and more vinegar, if desired. Pour sauce with apples over pork on platter. Sprinkle with bacon and sage.