In Praise of a Stout-Hearted Braise
Mar. 16, 2009 6:19 pm
Updated: Apr. 13, 2009 9:15 pm
So I worked in the garden until the rising windstorm caused twigs, then small branches, then one fair-sized tree limb to crash down and take my late winter clean up back to zero. Fine. Score one for Mother Nature. But my battle with the elements made me all the more hungry for a different sort of natural phenomenon at work in my Dutch oven.
While I was outside ducking and dodging the forces of nature, the low, moist heat in the Dutch oven had been rendering a pork shoulder fork-tender and saturated with intense flavors by breaking down connective tissue, melting fats, and making best friends of sauerkraut, apples, and onions. All with the help of a bottle of good Irish stout.
True to its purpose as a social lubricant, the stout mellowed the edge off all the players in the pot and brought them to teary-eyed harmony by night's end.
Prep was minimal:
- Mix 2 teaspoons each caraway seeds, dried thyme and coarse salt. Add as much freshly ground black pepper as you like. Rub this all over a 3-lb pork shoulder roast and let it sit for an hour or more.
- In the meantime, core 2 tart apples and slice into wedges. Peel and slice 1 medium yellow onion into wedges. Put onions and apples into the bottom of a Dutch oven, then rinse and drain a big jar of sauerkraut. (I used a 25-oz jar of Bubbies.) Cover the apples and onions evenly with the sauerkraut.
Slice the roast and serve hot over mashed potatoes along with a big scoop of good stuff from the pot.
- Place the roast, fat side up, on the sauerkraut and pour a 12-oz bottle of Guinness Irish Stout over the roast. Add maybe half a cup of chicken broth or apple juice. Put the roast, uncovered, into a pre-heated 375 degree oven. After 1 hour, turn the roast over and dial back the heat to 325. Cover the pot and turn the roast over every 1/2 hour until the meat is tender. It could take 3 or more hours. Be patient. It's worth it. Check the liquid in the pot and add more if needed.
What to drink? What do you think?
Stout-hearted pork braise ingredients
Almost ready for the oven
Stout-hearted pork braise with parsley mashed potatoes