This is a great weekend dinner that takes a short amount of hands-on time and fills your home with a wonderful aroma while it braises in the oven. You’ll find all of the ingredients at your local ShopRite, including two items that were new (to me): boneless pork shoulder and fresh fennel.
Whenever you’re trying a new cut of meat or a new type of produce try asking the store staff about it. Pork shoulder has more fat marbled throughout, so it’s more tender than pork loin or tenderloin, but it does take longer to cook. Fresh fennel has a unique licorice taste (don’t be afraid, it goes very well in this dish!) and it pairs well with the braised onions. Be sure to use fresh rosemary instead of dried. It really makes a difference in this dish.
If you prefer, you can cook this dish in your slow cooker on low for 8-10 hours.
ITALIAN STYLE BRAISED PORK
One (3-4 pound) boneless pork shoulder
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 bulb fresh fennel (anise), sliced
2 onions, sliced
3 carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
3 sprigs rosemary, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Season pork shoulder generously with salt and pepper.
In an oven-proof Dutch oven, add olive oil and preheat pot to medium-high. Sear the pork on all sides. Remove pork from pot.
Reduce heat to medium-low and sauté fennel, carrots, onions and garlic until softened, about five minutes.
Deglaze pot with white wine. Bring contents to a simmer for about three minutes. Add chicken stock and continue to simmer.
Press fresh rosemary over the surface of the seared pork. Return pork to the Dutch oven, fat side up.
Cover pot and braise in oven until tender, or about three hours. The meat should easily break apart when it’s finished.
Serve hot with your favorite side dishes. We enjoy mashed potatoes with our braised pork.
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