Pork Shoulder Braised in Hard Cider

Posted by    |  January 27, 2010  |  Filed under: Recipes

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cooking School

If you’ve had a baby or been sick over the last two years and I’ve brought you a meal, odds are good that it was either this recipe or Boeuf Bourguignon.  I love both and always have lots in freezer because I make those two dishes in “The Fundamentals” program.  Though I’m introducing all new recipes to that program next session (I personally need a change), I know I’ll always make a big batch for my freezer stash every fall.  It is just so comforting in a way that’s somehow still fresh and bright.

For sachet d’epice
3 fresh thyme sprigs
3 fresh flat leaf parsley stems
½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns

3 pounds pork shoulder

For braising liquid
4 cups hard cider (about 2 bottles)
½ cup chicken stock

For aromatics and garnish
4 leeks
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 parsnips
2 small celery roots

For sauce
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¼ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons grainy mustard

Make sachet d’epice

  1. Wrap the thyme, parsley and peppercorns in a small piece of cheesecloth and tie with twine to form a sachet

Prepare aromatics

  1. Finely chop one leek (when chopped, rinse well in cold water).
  2. Cut one small parsnip and ½ celery root into ½” dice (approximately ½ cup each)

Brown pork

  1. Place a suitably sized dutch oven or cocotte over high heat.  Add 1 to2 tablespoons of oil and heat until very hot but not smoking.
  2. Brown the pork on all sides, about 3-4 minutes per side.  If you attempt to turn the pork and it will not release from the pan, wait.  The pork is not browned enough and will release when it is properly browned.  Be careful not to burn any fond accumulating on the bottom of the pan.

Cook aromatics

  1. Reduce heat to medium high and add the leek, garlic, parsnip and celery root.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir frequently and cook until leek is translucent, about 2 minutes.

Braise pork

  1. Return pork to pot, and pour in 1 cup of cider.  Bring almost to a boil, and deglaze pot, scraping up browned  bits from bottom.  Add remaining cider until almost half way up around the sides of the pork, then add chicken stock and sachet d’epice.
  2. Bring to just below a boil on stovetop and place into 200-degree oven.
  3. Cook at 200-degrees for one hour.
  4. Then raise temperature to 250-degrees and cook (approximately one hour more) until a skewer inserted into the meat gives very little resistance.  Turn the meat over after 30 to 45 minutes in the 250-degree oven.

Prep garnish vegetables

  1. Wash 3 medium leeks and halve them lengthwise
  2. Peel and halve lengthwise 3 medium parsnips
  3. Peel and cut remaining 1 ½ celery roots into 1” wedges.

Finish braise with garnish vegetables

  1. Transfer the meat to a plate and stain the braising liquid through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.  Discard solids.
  2. Return the liquid and the pork to the pot and add the garnish vegetables, nestling them into the liquid (which should almost cover them).
  3. Bring to a near-boil on the range then return them to the oven and cook until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
  4. Remove vegetables and arrange them on a serving platter.  Wrap meat in aluminum foil and allow to rest.

Finish sauce

  1. Make a beurre manie by rubbing the soften butter together with the flour until completely incorporated.
  2. Pour off and measure the cooking liquid remaining in the pot.  There should be about 2 cups.
  3. Return cooking liquid to the pot and boil until reduced to one cup, about 6 minutes.
  4. Whisk in the beurre manie and continue whisking until the liquid comes to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for one minute (to remove flour flavor).  Turn off the heat and stir in the cream and mustard.


  1. Use a fork to shred the meat into large chunks.  Transfer to platter with vegetables.  Serve with sauce and more mustard on the side.

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