PORK SHOULDER, BRAISED (also for Basque style; pulled pork; or ravioli filling)
Basque style (twice cooked) braised pork is one or our guest’s favorites. It is one of those dishes that because it is not eaten until the next day, you get the benefit of meat juices going back into the meat as it cools. And you can easily remove any fat that hardens when cold. That way the second day the meat is much leaner and juicier, and the sauce is rich yet lean.
You only have to cook once for pulled pork. When done, it is tender and can be “pulled” apart with two forks. We usually wait until the meat is cool enough to touch but still quit warm. This way the connective tough tissue will show itself and you can remove it. Then chill the sauce enough to remove fat that solidifies. Add the “clarified” sauce to the pulled pork for more flavor and moisture before serving on a bun, or in a tamale.
For ravioli filling you can hand cut or pulse some of the pulled pork in a food processor to make it smoother and easier to fill the ravioli dough. We prefer hand cut for the texture.
1 tablespoon each salt, pepper, coriander and cocoa powder
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 pound pork butt
- 2 each yellow onions, diced
- 2 bulbs garlic, peeled
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoon thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1- 2 cup water or cola (you need just enough to go 1/2 inch up in the pan--so depends on the size of your pan)
Blend salt, pepper, coriander and cocoa powder and season outside of port rubbing in by hand. Place in preheated pan with vegetable oil; sear on all sides and remove pork; reserve. Remove excess oil from pan and discard. Place onions and garlic in pan and cook to coat with pork particles (“fond”) until they are translucent and aromatic. Add remaining seasoning and blend. Add water and place pork back into pot. Cover with tight fitting lid or foil. Place in 400ºF oven. After one hour, remove and turn the pork piece; cover again and cook for an additional 60-90 minutes or until pork is “just” tender about 2-2 1/2 hours total time. Serve immediately for for braised pork, ravioli filling, and/or pulled pork. For Basque style pork you must carefully cool to 40°F before proceeding.*
For pulled pork, cool slightly until you can handle. Then pull apart with forks. As you pull remove any connective tissue as you go. Note You can only detect connective tissue while pork is warm to hot.
For ravioli filling you may opt to puree or pulse in food processor to make the pulled pork less stringy for the ravioli, but we just cut ours.
*For Basque style pork, remove pork and sauce from oven and cool quickly to 41F (uncovered in refrigerator). For food safety, you may need to cut pork but in two pieces to encourage cooling. Never cover pan of food that is cooling. When cool, slice pork into 2” pieces. At service, place small amount oil in a large sauté pan and cook pork on high heat to brown and crisp and heated through. Adjust seasonings and serve with avocado salsa or warmed pureed sauce.