Monday, May 10, 2010

Cured braised pork shoulder

This is an unhurried preparation. It takes five days to brine the pork, then it rests to distribute the seasoning for another day, then you braise it low and slow all afternoon, and then finish it in the oven. It’s totally worth it, so melting tender, including the tasty skin, the meat is beautifully rosy pink from the brine, and so flavorful. And it actually takes very little of the cook’s time – it mostly brines and cooks itself.

I started on Monday with a pork shoulder picnic, skin on, bone in. Made the brine with the curing mixture of 8 parts kosher salt, 4 parts sugar, and 1 part InstaCure #1 that I mix by weight and use as needed. Steeped the herbs and spices in the brine, let it cool. When I grow up, I will have a special needle for injecting brine into hams. Professionals have it. I don’t. So I just poked the pork with a bamboo skewer to allow the brine to penetrate the meat a little better, covered the pork with brine, and left it, covered, in the fridge, till Friday. Drained, washed, and dried the pork, reserving the herbs.

On Saturday afternoon I tied up the pork, added the reserved herbs, a leek, a couple of celery stalks, 4 garlic cloves, and some 1/2 cup water, and simmered it VERY SLOWLY for about four hours. Parboiled the fingerling potatoes, got the car from the mechanic, went to the farmers market to get tomatoes and fava beans, shelled the beans, and went for a hike in the hills while it was cooking.

Just before dinner, I removed the pork from the braising liquid, put it together with the potatoes in a roasting pan, basted both pork and the potatoes with the braising liquid, and popped into a hot oven for about 15 minutes, just enough to add some color and crust.
Took out of the oven, sliced, served with roasted potatoes and a salad of heirloom tomatoes and fava beans.

Cured braised pork shoulder

1 pork shoulder picnic, with bone and skin, about 3.5 lb

For the brine:
6 cups water
¾ cup curing mix (1 part pink salt, 4 parts sugar, 8 parts kosher salt by weight)
5 bay leaves
4 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs sage
1 Tbsp black peppercorns
5 juniper berries

1 comment:

Núria said...

Amarillo.... I love slow cooking :D. This pork shoulder is one of the best views of the week!!!!