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Catalan Braised Pork Shoulder With Dried Fruit

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“(Porc Guisata Amb Fruita Seca) Moist slow cooking brings out the best in a humble cut like pork shoulder, making it fit for the most festive occasions. The sauce, enhanced with dried fruit and a whiff of cinnamon, is classically Catalan. Try to get best-quality organic dried cherries and apricots, ones that have some tartness. If you're using ordinary dried fruit, you might want to reduce the amount slightly, so the dish doesn't come out overly sweet. Alternatively, you can add a splash of red wine vinegar to the sauce at the end. The dish is best made ahead; cool the pork in the sauce and slowly reheat it. If you prefer, this recipe is also great made with a 2 to 3 pound boneless pork loin, which should be cooked until it registers 150º on a meat thermometer (it will take about 45 minutes). Adapted from "The New Spanish Table" cookbook.”
1hr 30mins

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 1 boneless pork shoulder, such as Boston Butt (about 4 pounds, trimmed of excess fat)
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper (kosher or sea)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, crushed with a garlic press
  • 3 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 cup peeled white pearl onion
  • 14 cup kirsch (or brandy)
  • 2 cups full-bodied dry red wine (with a lively acidity)
  • 1 cup stock (beef or chicken or both)
  • 34 cup pitted dried sour cherries
  • 12 cup dried apricot (preferably Californian, halved or quartered if large)
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 small piece cinnamon stick
  • 2 fresh rosemary sprigs


  1. Preheat oven to 325º.
  2. Using kitchen string, tie the pork shoulder crosswise, spacing the ties 1 inch apart. Rub the pork generously with salt and pepper and the garlic.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 5 to 6 quart flameproof casserole or Dutch oven over high heat until almost smoking. Add the pork and cook until richly browned on all sides, about 8 minutes total. Add the remaining oil while the pork browns, if the casserole looks too dry. Transfer the pork to a bowl. Add the chopped onion, carrot, and pearl onions to the casserole and brown well, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the kirsch and cook over high heat until it is reduced to about 1 tablespoon, about 1 minute. Add the wine, beef stock, cherries, apricots, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and rosemary sprigs and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the casserole to dislodge the brown bits. Season the sauce with salt to taste.
  4. Return the pork to the casserole. Cover tightly and transfer it to the oven. Bake the pork, turning it once or twice, until it is very tender and an instant-read thermometer registers 165º, about 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Transfer the pork to a plate and cover it with foil to keep warm. Remove and discard the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and rosemary sprigs.
  6. Transfer the casserole to the stove top and cook the sauce over high heat until it is slightly syrupy, 3 to 5 minutes.
  7. Remove the string from the pork and discard it. Cut the pork into slices and arrange on a serving platter. Pour the sauce over the pork and serve.

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