Apricot Braised Pork Shoulderby Michael Wards
We all want to impress our dinner guests, especially around the holidays. And New Years Eve is definitely the most glamorous holiday of the year. If you’re looking to “wow” them with a show-stopping meal, my Apricot Braised Pork Shoulder will do the trick.
I like to add layers of flavor throughout this dish, starting with a golden-brown sear. I then slowly braise the pork in a good-quality red wine (and save leftovers for the table). As the alcohol cooks away, it imparts a silky, rich essence. The pork is best when made a day in advance so you have time to prepare a sauce with the braising liquid.
Apricot Braised Pork Shoulder
All it takes:
Grapeseed or olive oil
5 lbs. boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 sweet onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup red wine
2 cups whole dried apricots, preferably unsulfured
½ gallon chicken stock
Let’s Get Cooking:
- In a hot and oiled soup pot or Dutch oven sear the pork pieces, just to brown. If need be, do this in small batches so as to not crowd the pot. Remove the pork and set aside.
- In the same pot, add the onions. Cook until slightly translucent and beginning to brown on the edges.
- Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the carrots and tomato paste. Cook for another 3-5 minutes.
- Pour in the red wine, deglazing the pan and removing the brown bits stuck to the bottom. That’s where all the flavor is hidden! Continue to let the wine and vegetables cook for about 2-4 minutes, until the wine is almost completely evaporated.
- Add the pork, apricots, and chicken stock. Make sure the chicken stock completely covers the pork. If not, add water until it does.
- Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour. After an hour, remove the cover and check the tenderness of the pork with a fork. If it doesn’t easily pull apart, re–cover and cook for another 30 minutes. Continue checking every 30 minutes until it is fork-tender.
- Remove from the heat. Serve with sauce, if desired.
To make the sauce: After removing the pork, carefully strain the braising liquid into a large pot. Bring to a boil and reduce it by half its volume. Let cool and refrigerate the liquid overnight. The following day, remove the layer of fat that has solidified on top. Bring the remaining liquid to a boil, and reduce it by a quarter. You can now use this sauce to add a deeper element to an already succulent pork dish!