I am a huge fan of the humble pig. It always seems to me that among all the meats, pork ends up being the tastiest. And this recipe is no shrinking violet. My wife ranks it right up with Crack Pork and even better than my carnitas. The way to think of this is that it is “Italian Carnitas in a Red Wine Reduction” – and it is marvelous. I originally found this recipe in the book Secret Suppers by Jenn Garbee.
- 4 pounds pork shoulder (I used 5.5 pounds and kept everything else the same so you have flexibility)
- Kosher or Coarse Sea Salt
- 1 bottle medium bodied red Italian Table wine like Sangiovese or Docetto; I used a $10.99 bottle of Sangiovese
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp whole peppercorns
- 1/4 cup olive oil for browning the meat
- 2 tbsp olive oil for cooking the onion
- 1 tbsp olive oil for coking the scallions
- 1 large yellow onion roughly chopped
- 15 scallions trimmed and cut in half across the bunch
- A squeeze of lemon juice
- 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup best quality olive oil preferably olio nuovo
- Grated Caciocavello (aged cows milk cheese), grated aged Provolone or grated Parmesan
- Trim the pork of any large chunks of fat leaving the smaller piece intact (I skipped this step entirely). Cut the pork into 1 to 2 inch pieces. Season on all sides with 1 tbsp salt and place in large bowl. Pour enough wine over them to cover. Add bay leaf and peppercorns. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Remove the pork from the marinade and save the marinade for later use (it becomes the cooking sauce). Remove all peppercorns from the pork and discard. Place pork pieces on a paper towel and pat dry.
- In a large stockpot, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil over medium high heat until almost smoking. Add as much meat as will fit and brown it on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the second. Remove to a plate and repeat until all meat is browned.
- Empty the oil from the stock pot and wipe it clean taking care to leave the browned bits. Add 2 tbsp more oil and saute the onion with a generous pinch of salt and saute for 4 minutes or until soft.
- Add the marinade and bring to a boil. Add back the meat and any juices and stir. Return to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer stirring every 30 minutes. Please note that the original recipe said to cook for 4 hours; it only took me 2 hours; ymmv. What you are looking for is fall apart tender.
- Remove any fat from the surface and discard. Use a wooden spoon to break up the meat until it is almost shredded. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add 1 tbsp oil. Cook the scallions until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of lemon juice.
- Place the meat on a large platter and spoon the sauce left in the pan over it (there may not be very much). Sprinkle with the red pepper flakes and drizzle with the olio nuovo (the really good olive oil). Top with the cheese. Serve with the scallions alongside.
Note: I know it is non traditional but we ate this on top of tortillas just as if it was carnitas and it was phenomenal.