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Red Wine-Braised Pork Butt

Red Wine-Braised Pork Butt

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Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Pat the pork butt dry with paper towels and generously season with salt and pepper. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat, drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sear the pork butt on both sides, about 6-8 minutes or until well-browned.

Reduce the heat slightly and add the water, red wine, bay leaves, garlic, onion, cinnamon and red wine vinegar. Bring to a boil, then place in the preheated oven and cook, covered, for approximately 2 hours or until fork tender. Baste occasionally with the basting liquid.

When finished, remove the pork and strain the braising liquid into a clean sauce pot. Over medium-high heat, reduce the liquid until it thickens and becomes sauce-like. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

Wine-Braised Pork Shoulder

I think Monday has become one of my favorite days of the week. Here’s why:

1. My Pilates class is offered Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. Going on Monday morning is a refreshing way to start the week off right.

2. I found an exciting new volunteering opportunity: teaching elementary-aged kids how to cook as part of an after-school program every Monday. I’m meeting with the organizer today to go over logistics, and we start next week!

3. I actually really love my work. I’ve recently taken on more responsibility (and hours) at my part-time job, and even when I’m answering the same question for the fifth time or fighting with our website, I’m happy. I feel so, so lucky to have this job.

4. Did anyone else watch the series premier of Alcatraz last week? Halfway through, I turned to Dan and said “we’re totally going to get sucked in and watch every week, aren’t we?” I’m excited to cuddle up on the couch with Dan and the dog tonight to watch the next installment.

5. Meals made of leftovers from Sunday dinner are awesome. Not in the “let’s reheat this container of leftovers” sense, but in the “let’s make something new and different with these leftovers” way. With the leftovers from this braised pork, I’m making a hearty side dish or vegetarian entree. All I need to do is cook up some quinoa in the leftover sauce (supplemented with a little water if necessary), then tossing in the remaining vegetables. That’s all it takes!

Since it takes nearly 2 hours for everything to cook, you may choose to pass on this for a weeknight meal, depending on how crunched for time your evenings are. But it makes an excellent Sunday dinner. And one that only requires one pot, to boot!

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pound Boston butt (pork shoulder)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 medium carrots, sliced into 1/2" coins
  • 1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, halved with outer leaves removed
  • 1 medium bulb fennel, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 300F.
  2. Season the Boston butt well with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high. Sear the meat on all sides, about 1-2 minutes per side (including the edges). Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. Add the garlic and vegetables and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until tender and beginning to brown, about 5-8 minutes.
  5. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the Dutch oven with the spoon to loosen any stuck bits of vegetables or meat.
  6. Place the Boston butt on top of the vegetables. Cover with the broth and tomato sauce and sprinkle with flour so that the sauce will thicken as it cooks.
  7. Cook, covered, at 300F for 1-1 1/2 hours.
  8. Serve the meat with the vegetables and sauce.

Chop the vegetables the day before to cut down on prep time. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Pasta with Braised Pork, Red Wine and Pancetta

In the winter, I always make tons of this pasta and freeze it in quart-size Ziploc bags for quick meals. It&rsquos inspired by some of the best sauces I&rsquove eaten all over Italy and NYC (thank you to Mario Batali and Michael White for teaching me how to appreciate and create real pasta). I like this sauce with tubetti or short mezzi rigatoni, so that it gets into all the holes. The pork lends fattiness, the wine gives a balanced acidity and the pancetta delivers all the wholesome saltiness you could ever want from an ingredient. If you use really high quality pancetta, you will also get a fine line of cured funk throughout the dish that is sublime. Don&rsquot use cheap pancetta here, but yes, Boar&rsquos Head brand is just fine.I developed this dish about 15 years ago for some corporate classes I was doing at Cooks of Crocus Hill in St. Paul, and I met my wife the night I first taught this Italian classic to my students. I hope it works out as well for you.&mdashAndrew Zimmern Italian Pasta Recipes

Roast the shoulder

In the same skillet where we sauteed the vegetables, roast the whole pork shoulder, making sure that the entire surface of the meat will be gold brown. Now, raise the heat to high and add the wine immediately, cooking for a few minutes until the alcoholic part of the wine has evaporated.

Braised Pork Shoulder with Pancetta and Red Wine Sauce

Humble pork shoulder is a favorite cut for the budget minded paleo cook, but in this dish it gets dressed up for dinner as it is braised in a rich sauce of pancetta and red wine, accented by the food trinity of flavor and some fresh herbs. With a couple simple substitutions, it can even be made paleo autoimmune friendly (AIP).

This recipe is actually my husband’s creation and he originally made it as a pasta sauce (what can I say… his Italian roots run pretty deep!). While it is excellent tossed with some gluten-free rice noodles or served over zucchini noodles, it is also thick and rich enough to stand on its own as a complete main dish, perhaps accompanied by a simple salad or other vegetable side dish.

The key to making a nice thick sauce is to use a food processor at the beginning to finely chop the vegetables and then to allow plenty of time for the pork to braise in the sauce as it reduces at the end. Using a food processor is also helpful for “hiding” the vegetables in the sauce if you have any picky eaters in your house (not that I know anything about that!). We use this mini processor for this task.
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Also, don’t be tempted to skim off the fat that will render from the braised pork shoulder – it is key to the rich flavor and fat from pasture raised pork is a great source of vitamin D and healthy fats.


Preheat the oven to 300°. Place the pork roast on a cutting board so the long end faces you and slice through the middle horizontally and nearly to the other side of roast. Open the roast like a book (it should still be attached at one side) and season with about half of the salt and pepper. Close the roast and season the outside with the remaining salt and pepper, then use butcher’s twine to tie the roast at 1-inch intervals.

2. Heat a large skillet over high heat for 2 minutes. Add half the oil and then the pork, browning it on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side (if it starts to get dark too fast, reduce the heat). Use tongs to transfer the pork to a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot and set aside. Pour the fat from the skillet into a medium bowl (cool and discard). Use tongs and paper towels to wipe out the skillet.

3. Pour the remaining oil into the wiped skillet. Heat the oil over high heat until it smokes, 1½ to 2 minutes. Add the carrots and place the onions and garlic halves cut-side down in the pan. After about 30 seconds, check the garlic and, if nicely browned, remove from the pan and place on a plate (or cook a little longer if needed). Continue to cook the onions and carrots until the onions are very dark (and almost threatening to burn), about 1 minute longer.

4. Turn off the heat and cool the pan for 1 minute. Turn the heat to medium, pour in the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

5. Pour in the chicken broth, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and carefully pour the broth and vegetables over the pork in the Dutch oven. Add the thyme, apple, rosemary, peppercorns and lemon-zest strips.

6. Cover the pot, place it in the oven and cook until a long-pronged fork can be inserted into the center and twisted without resistance, 3 to 4 hours.

7. Remove from the oven and transfer the pork to a large platter. Pour the braising liquid into a large, heat-safe measuring cup. Let the meat cool for 15 to 20 minutes before using a fork to break the roast into chunks. Pour off the fat from the top of the broth, pour some of the jus over the pork.

Red Wine-Braised Pork Congee

Congee can be a simple, creamy dish in which the flavor of the rice stands proudly. It also can be a blank canvas for adding all sorts of color and flavor. Here, the satisfying, wintry flavors of red-wine-braised meat -– pork in this case, because it’s such a prominent protein in Chinese cooking –- are combined with the warm comforts of porridge.

Make Ahead: The congee can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat it in a pot over medium-low heat, adding just enough water to return it to the proper consistency.

Servings: 6 - 8

For the pork: Combine the red wine, broth, onion, carrots, garlic, pork, salt, pepper and five-spice powder in a medium Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Stir to blend in the spices. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low cover and cook for 90 minutes, stirring or basting occasionally, until the pork is tender. Transfer the solids to a bowl and cover to keep warm. Strain and reserve the cooking liquid there should be about 1 cup.

For the congee: Combine 8 cups of the water and the rice in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and reduce the heat to medium-low, stirring occasionally to make sure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Once the mixture starts to thicken and the water appears cloudy, stir in the broth and the ginger. Cover and cook, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. During this time, add some or all of the remaining cup of water if the mixture becomes too thick but the grains have not yet broken down. The congee should be thick, more like a porridge than individual grains of rice.

Once the congee has reached the desired consistency, stir in the cabbage it will wilt but retain some texture. Taste, and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.

Divide among individual bowls. Spoon equal portions of the braised pork and carrots into the center of each serving. If desired, heat the reserved, strained braising liquid in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the butter and flour and cook to form a thickened gravy. (Softened butter and flour also can be whisked together before adding to the liquid.) Drizzle this over the top of each serving.


  • 3 cups soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pound dark brown sugar
  • 6 scallions, white and light green parts cut into 2-inch lengths, dark green parts thinly sliced
  • 3 small, dried red Thai chiles
  • One 4-inch piece of fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
  • 1 medium orange, quartered
  • One 4-inch cinnamon stick
  • One 4-pound piece of boneless pork shoulder, quartered
  • Freshly ground pepper

In an 8-quart pressure cooker, combine the soy sauce, wine, water, vinegar, sugar, scallion lengths, chiles, ginger, garlic, orange and cinnamon stick. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Season the pork with pepper and add it to the pressure cooker. Close and lock the cooker and bring to full pressure over high heat. Adjust the heat to maintain full pressure and cook for 1 hour or until the pork is very tender. Slowly release the pressure and open the cooker. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and cover with foil.

Strain 1 cup of the cooking liquid into a small saucepan discard the remaining liquid. Boil over high heat until the liquid is reduced by two-thirds and thick, about 5 minutes. Brush a light coating of the sauce over each piece of pork to glaze it. Thinly slice the pork and serve.


  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups cooked rice or orzo

Slow Braised Boston Butt Pork Roast

If you’ve been following Lemony Thyme for a bit, you’ve probably picked up on our love for slow braising meats. So much so, I added the category B is for Braising to our recipe roster. Whether it be a Beef Pot Roast, Pork Chops, Beef Shanks, Chicken in a Pot, or this gorgeous Boston Butt Pork Roast, braising takes any cut of meat and turns it into tender love.

Here is our typical method…

To begin, assemble your favorite dry rub. For us that consists of fairly equal amounts of dried thyme, sage, oregano, yellow mustard, garlic powder, Mrs. Dash Garlic Herb seasoning, salt & pepper.

Apply the rub to all sides of the roast, pressing it in as you go. Then choose a dutch oven that is just a bit bigger than your roast and brown the roast in canola oil until it is deep brown on all six sides. Once really nice and browned, remove the roast. Add a generous amount of thickly sliced onions into the dutch oven and saute until just tender.

Often at this point we add 1 cup of dry red wine, stirring to deglaze the pan. However for this roast, we used 1 cup of dry white wine and 3-4 minced garlic cloves before returning the roast to the pan. We then added enough milk to raise the liquid level to half way up the roast. When looking for alternate cooking methods for a Boston Butt, we came across the site Real Food Has Curves (Amen) and their recipe for Pork Butt Braised in Milk and Spices. We already knew we loved Chicken in Milk and since these guys clearly understood the molecular structure of milk and protein…that was both intriguing and good enough for us.

Next comes the braising. What you’re looking for is a slow burble not a boil. Start out in a 300 degree oven and hourly adjust the temperature accordingly to maintain the slow burble. (For a 6lb. roast, we started at 300 went to 275 then settled at 250 for about 3 hours total cooking time).

The end result was a succulent roast as always…because at the end of the day how do you mess up a pork roast?!

We bought the biggest roast we could find on that day (6 lbs.+)…so we could pull it into Pulled Pork Sliders to enjoy while watching the Great American Race.

We later transform the leftover roast into a giant pot of Pozole Rojo , a favorite hearty winter dish.

Reserving a couple servings of pulled pork for a nice Mexican Breakfast with Pulled Pork and Eggs.

Why not make a batch of Homemade Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce to serve with your Slow Braised Boston Butt Roast.

A nice Slow Braised Boston Butt Pork Roast is so versatile and yields a bounty of tender pork goodness to be savored for days.


Last night we were supposed to go out to dinner but with the major snowstorm upstate, we chose not to travel, built a fire and stayed put. Instead we traveled to Greece with a French side trip!

We started with store bought hummus – Sabra brand with roasted garlic. Now what I always do, and I think this makes it just a little more special, is drizzle high quality, extra virgin (of course) olive oil on top and then sprinkle on some ground cumin. I served it with whole grain pita chips and some fresh red pepper strips. Fast, easy and delicious!

I then made Melissa Clark’s recipe for Moussaka that was in the NY Times Dining section this past week. It was called “Greece on a Speedboat” – which was supposed to mean that this was the speedy, sort of short-cut version of moussaka. Well, it still took 2 1/2 hours! And it was good but it wasn’t great. To me, when you spend that much time on something, it should be great. And I guess to make the authentic version takes even longer! We have been to Greece several times. I love Greece, even Athens, and Santorini used to be our special place but now it’s too crowded. The Greeks are lovely laid back people yet all their traditional dishes are very labor intensive. Ever make Baklava or watch someone make it? All those separate sheets of thin pastry, each one buttered, layer upon layer. Yikes!

But let me tell you about the salad I made. It was a Jacques Pepin recipe also from the Times the week before this last. He wants you to make it with frisee but my little local market doesn’t even sell that. I guess it’s too expensive and they don’t have a calling for it. So I substituted a bunch of watercress and a sliced endive. I figured these two combined could substitute the slightly bitter frisee bite he was looking for. It was delicious – I’m thinking it may have even been better! You tell me.

Here’s the recipe. I love his way of making the croutons rather than roasting in the oven. You must constantly toss them but you have more control and can achieve beautifully colored croutons with just the perfect crunch and this uses much less oil than oven roasting which equals less calories. Yay! The dressing is more mustardy – very French and very delicious.

Adapted from “Essential Pépin” by Jacques Pépin (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011)

1 1/2 cups 1-inch bread cubes
1 tablespoon olive, canola or peanut oil (I used olive oil)
1 tablespoon spicy mustard
1 teaspoon crushed and finely chopped garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large or 2 small heads frisée, cut into 2-inch pieces (5 to 6 cups) or one bunch of watercress, large stems removed and one endive sliced in rounds
1/4 cup pitted spicy green olives, cut in half
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained, each cut in half or thirds

Drop bread cubes into a skillet and sprinkle oil over them. Toss gently and cook over high heat, tossing constantly, until cubes are browned on all sides. Remove from skillet.

Mix mustard, garlic, salt, pepper and vinegar in a large serving bowl. Whisk in oil.

Add the frisée or watercress and endive, olives and sun-dried tomatoes to the bowl and toss thoroughly. Divide among 4 salad plates and sprinkle the croutons on top.


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