Braised pork with chiles and cinnamon over polenta

After we finished eating this, Brian said “That was a WIN”. It made me giggle, and I agreed with him. Delicious and stupidly easy.

Braised pork with chiles and cinnamon over polenta
Just the Tip / Inspired by Fresh Tart

Here’s what I used:

For the pork:

  • 4 lb. boneless pork shoulder, cut into 4 equal pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, lightly toasted and ground
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 dried ancho chiles, stems pull off, roughly chopped (i used scissors to “chop” them)
  • 2 cups chicken stock or water
  • freshly ground black pepper

Here’s what I did:

  1. Preheat oven to 250.
  2. Season the pork with kosher salt on all sides.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add two of the pork pieces to the pan and brown thoroughly on all sides. Definitely don’t rush this step — it will take a while (about 20-30 minutes) to complete for all of the pieces of pork.
  4. When the first two pieces are browned, remove to a plate and repeat with the other two pieces. Set those aside as well.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, garlic, toasted and ground cumin and coriander, cinnamon stick, and chopped chiles. Saute for a few minutes, pour in the chicken stock, and arrange the pork on top.
  6. Bring to a simmer, then cover and transfer the pan to the oven.
  7. Roast the pork for 2-3 hours, or until it’s very tender and pulls apart easily with two forks. Remove the oven and transfer the pork to a cutting board.
  8. Fish out the cinnamon sticks from the sauce and discard. Transfer the sauce to a blender and puree in batches (or use an immersion blender if you have one) until smooth. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and return to the dutch oven.
  9. Roughly shred the pork with two forks and add them back to the dutch oven. Serve the pork warm with pan juices on top of some yummy polenta (recipe below). It’s also TERRIFIC with some tomato jam.

For the polenta:

Here’s what I used:

  • 1 cup coarse grind polenta
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups half and half (or milk)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp smart balance
  • kosher salt
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
  • 1 tbsp olive oil for sauteeing

Here’s what I did:

  1. Saute the garlic and onion over medium heat in the olive oil. Once soft and translucent, add the chicken broth and half and half and bring to a low boil.
  2. Rain in the polenta while whisking constantly. Once fully whisked in, switch to a wooden spoon, reduce the heat to medium-low/low, and season with a good pinch of salt. Cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
  3. Stir in the parmesan cheese and smart balance (or butter), and serve.

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