We have a French student living with us for a few months and I really wanted to impress her. Charlotte arrived last Sunday and I wanted to make something delicious but also something that would keep well overnight in case she was running a little bit late. I wanted something with French flavors and a lot of thyme in the form of a wonderful roast with a little baby arugula added to it.
Charlotte arrived a few hours late and this meal kept nicely while we waited. But then she tells me that she doesn’t eat salad. Well that was really bad news because I had prepared a terrific salad. All wasn’t lost, as I had no issues devouring her portion of the salad! Fortunately I also had some carrots with the roast, so she got some vegetables in. But the main course was definitely the roast.
This is something I plan on making again and again. It is a rich, savory and slightly sweet chunk of tender meat that is smooth as butter. This dish is not only complex and interesting, but it is a whole lot easier than it sounds, too.
I recommend you give this recipe a go before the weather gets really warm. Envelope yourself in wonderful flavors and sink into its pure goodness, with love!
I served this with polenta squares, browned in a little olive oil and butter.
Red Wine Braised Pork
- 4 lbs boneless pork butt
- 2 tbsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup grape seed oil, divided
- 5 Medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch lengths
- 3 Medium onions, halved lengthwise (root end left intact) and peeled
- 1 head of garlic, halved horizontally
- 1 cup medium-bodied red wine (such as Pinot Noir)
- 4 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)
- 30 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tart green apples cored and quartered
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
- 1 lemon, peeled using a vegetable peeler
|Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the pork roast on a cutting board so the long end faces you and slice through the middle horizontally.|
|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.|
|Heat half the oil in a large skillet over high heat for 2 minutes.|
|Add the pork roast, 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.|
|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.|
|Continue to cook the onions and carrots until the onions are very dark (and almost threatening to burn), about 1 minute longer.|
|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.|
|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.|
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, about 4 hours.
Remove from the oven and transfer the pork to a large platter. Let the meat cool for 15 to 20 minutes before using a fork to break the roast into chunks. Meanwhile, boil the braising liquid and skim off the fat. Pour the jus over the pork and serve.
Serves 8 people.