Sunday, February 12, 2012


This pork was SO GOOD. I bought a beautiful hunk of pork shoulder from Whole Foods. I'm not eating meat as often as I used to so I made a decision that when I do eat it I will buy the best. This piece was really well marbled and had great flavor, something that seems to have disappeared from regular grocery store meat. The gravy for this was ridiculously easy and really tasty. When the meat has finished cooking you put the onions and apples (that had cooked with the meat) in the blender with some water and 1/2 tsp. of Dijon mustard and give it a whirl. That's it! The recipe calls for pressing the gravy through a sieve for a silky smooth texture but I liked it more rustic and skipped that step.

You need to start this a day or two ahead. The pork is rubbed with a mixture of toasted fennel seeds, black peppercorns, garlic, and fresh herbs.

Then it is sealed in plastic wrap and marinated in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. You roast it on top of sliced apples and onions, on high for 30 minutes to brown and then covered and cooked for about 3 hours until the meat is falling apart.


The pork shoulder should be marinated in the rub overnight or up to two days.

  • 4-5 pounds (1.8 to 2.2 kg) boneless pork shoulder, sinew and excess fat (beyond 1/4 inch) trimmed
  • 1 Tbsp fennel seeds, toasted
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 2 Tbsp packed, fresh thyme leaves, lightly chopped, or 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, lightly chopped
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • Olive oil
  • 4 medium good cooking apples, such as Fuji or Jonagold
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) dry white wine (can sub water)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Freshly ground black pepper

1. Put the fennel seeds, peppercorns, thyme and rosemary leaves, garlic and 2 teaspoons salt into a spice grinder or coffee grinder and grind to a paste. Alternatively, you can pound the mixture with a mortar and pestle. Put the mixture into a bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons olive oil.

2. Rub the mixture evenly all over the pork shoulder. If the roast is tied, untie it to rub the inside with the rub mixture as well, then retie it. Wrap the roast tightly in plastic wrap to hold the rub against the skin and marinate overnight (or up to two days).

3. Peel, halve, and core the apples. Cut each apple half into about 4 wedges. Peel the onions. Cut in half from tip to root. Trim the root and tip. Cut each onion half into about 12 thin wedges. Put the onions and the apples together in a bowl and toss to mix.

4. Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C).

5. Toss the apples and onions with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with a little salt and pepper. Place the apples and onions in the bottom of a roasting pan or Dutch oven with a cover. Place the marinated pork shoulder on top of the apples and onions.

6. Roast uncovered for 30 minutes. Turn the oven heat down to 325°F and add the wine. Cover the roasting pan and slow roast for 2 1/2 to 3 hours until the pork shoulder is falling apart tender and pulls apart easily when probed with a fork.

7. Transfer the pork shoulder to a serving plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Put the apples and onions into a blender. Add about 1/2 cup water and the mustard and puree. Check the texture, and add water until you get the desired thickness for the gravy. Press through a sieve for a silky smooth textured gravy. Check the seasoning and correct to taste.

Yield: Serves 4-6 with leftovers.

Recipe from Simply Recipes

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