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 CABERNET BRAISED PORK SHOULDER

This succulent braise is a rich winter dish and a phenomenal complement to our most robust Cabernet Sauvignons.

SERVINGS: 4-6

INGREDIENTS:

Brine
• 4 pounds bone-in pork shoulder blade cross cut 1 cup Kosher salt
• 1/4 cup brown sugar
• 3 bay leaves
• 6 black peppercorns
• 2 allspice berries
• 1 bunch fresh sage
• 1 quart cold water
• 3 quarts ice water

Braise
• Brined pork shoulder
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 white onions (one peeled and cut into large chunks; one peeled and left whole)
• 3 celery ribs (cut into large pieces)
• 2 carrots (peeled and cut into large pieces)
• 1 bulb of garlic (split in half widthwise)
• 2 bay leaves
• 2 cinnamon sticks
• 5-6 cloves
• 5-6 allspice berries
• 1 cup cranberry juice
• 3 cups red wine
• 2 quarts chicken stock


Serve
• 1 cup freshly picked parsley leaves
• 1 clove of fresh garlic, finely grated
• 2 tablespoons orange zest
• 1 cup red wine

DIRECTIONS:

Brine
1. In a large sauce pan, heat all the spices along with one quart of cold water. Bring to a boil, and whisk to dissolve salt and sugar.
2. Pour the hot mixture into the 3 quarts of ice water. At this point, you should have a cold brine for the pork. Place the pork into a large non-reactive container and pour the cold brine on top.
3. Refrigerate 4 hours, then remove the pork from the brine and pat dry. Discard the remaining brine.

Braise
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Locate a deep sauce pot or enameled cassoulet that has a tight- fitting lid and will easily accommodate the pork and all the vegetables.
2. Heat olive oil over high heat. Brown on all sides of the pork shoulder until very crusty and deep golden brown. Remove the pork and set aside.
3. Drain most of the excess oil from the pot, leaving behind about 1 tablespoon. Sauté the chopped onion, celery, carrots and garlic over medium high heat. Meanwhile, stick the cloves into the whole onion (This will help you remove them later.)
4. When the vegetables are browned, add the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice, red wine and cranberry juice. Increase heat to high, then scrape up and crusty bits stuck to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
5. Once the liquid is reduced by half, add the pork back in along with the whole clove-studded onion. Pour in the chicken stock, cover and bring to a boil.
6. Turn the heat off and move the contents of the pan around a bit, making sure that the pork is surrounded by evenly distributed vegetables and spices.
7. Cover and place into the 325 degree oven. Cook slowly for 3-4 hours or until the pork is soft and falling off the bone. To keep the pork moist, remove the lid every half hour, and ladle some of the cooking juice over the top of the pork with a spoon or turkey baster.

Serve
1. Mix the parsley, garlic and orange zest in a bowl and set aside. Remove pork from the cooking liquid and place onto a large platter. Remove any chunks of vegetables and place around the pork (Discard the whole onion and its cloves).
2. Cover the pork and vegetables to keep warm (perhaps placing back into the oven with the heat turned off). Strain the rest of the cooking juices through a fine sieve into a high-sided container. Using a ladle in a circular motion, remove any of the fat that floats to the top of the cooking liquid.
3. Return the liquid to the pot and bring to a boil, skimming off any fat that floats to the surface during the process. Add the red wine to the cooking liquid and reduce until tasty and thick, but be careful not to over reduce or it will become salty. Ladle the sauce oven the pork and vegetables, then top with the parsley/orange zest mixture.

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