Wine experts know that pork and Pinot Noir often make a great duo, so here we take the pairing to the next level by braising rich pork shoulder in a combination of earthy Pinot Noir and complexly flavored balsamic vinegar. Serve this dish over polenta, or with plenty of crusty bread, for sopping up the flavorful braising liquid.
Balsamic and Pinot Braised Pork Shoulder
- 2 lb. (1 kg) boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 3/4 cups (14 fl. oz./430 ml) Pinot Noir
- 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) chicken broth
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
- 1 bunch fresh thyme, sprigs separated
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1. Season the pork generously with salt and pepper.
2. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the pork and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork to a plate.
3. Add the onion to the pot and sauté until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the wine and vinegar and cook, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom of the pot with a spoon, until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add the broth, garlic, thyme and cayenne to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and return the pork to the pot. Cover the pot and simmer until the pork is very tender, about 2 hours.
4. Using a slotted spoon, remove the thyme sprigs and garlic cloves and discard. Transfer the pork to a platter and set aside. Increase the heat to medium-high and continue cooking until the liquid is slightly reduced and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes.
5. Serve the pork warm with the sauce spooned over the top. Serves 4 to 6.
Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen