About the time of the first frost (or in our case first huge snowfall in October where the snow is just casually falling out of the sky without any kind of explanation like it’s no big deal), the little man who lives in my belly turns his thoughts from tomatoes and scallops and peaches and rosés to pork braises and roasted brussels sprouts and sausages and red wine. It works out nicely that way.
When I saw cranberries at the farmers’ market, I realized I was ready for autumn eating, so I bought a couple pounds and headed to the butcher for some pork shoulder and shallots (they sell produce at my butcher, too). The resulting braise turned out to be just what I needed to celebrate the start of the season. With simple flavors and a wonderful richness, this is a recipe I hope to make a couple more times while cranberries are still around.
Braised Pork with Cranberries
1 1/2 lbs. pork shoulder cut into cubes
2 cups rinsed cranberries
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
2 shallots diced
3 – 4 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Salt and pepper the pork as far in advance as you are able.
Place a heavy bottomed pot with a lid or a dutch oven over high heat with a little bit of oil or butter. When it’s nice and hot, add the pork and brown it on all sides. After about 6 – 8 minutes, remove the pork to a bowl, drain off any excess fat and turn the heat to medium.
Add the cranberries, shallots, thyme, and rosemary, stir and cook for about 30 seconds then add the wine and vinegar, and return the pork. Bring to a boil, then turn to low and cover.
Cook for as long as you are able, but at least three hours. If the braising liquid gets low add a little wine or water. Before serving, taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
Serve over creamy polenta.