Drunken Pork Shoulder with Cabbage and Pears

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bouquet garni
2 white onions, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
3 cloves garlic
30 whole black peppercorns
5 cups dry red wine, such as Cabernet or Merlot
salt to taste, plus 1 tablespoon salt
3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups veal stock or chicken stock
1 head green cabbage, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
3 ripe but firm pears, such as Comice, cored, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley




In a large shallow nonaluminum dish, combine the bouquet garni, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, peppercorns, 4 1/2 cups of the red wine and salt to taste. Stir to mix. Add the pork and turn to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 5 hours or as long as overnight.

Drain the meat and vegetables in a sieve, capturing the marinade in a small saucepan. Bring the marinade to a boil, then remove it from the heat and set aside. Separate the meat from the vegetables; set aside separately.

In a sauté pan over high heat, warm 4 tablespoons of the olive oil. Pat the meat dry with paper towels. Working in small batches, add the meat to the pan and brown on all sides, about 2 minutes. Transfer the meat to a large saucepan.

To the same sauté pan used for browning the meat, add the reserved vegetables and sauté over medium-high heat until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes.

Transfer the vegetables to the saucepan holding the meat. Add the reserved red wine marinade. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add the veal or chicken stock and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until the pork is tender, 50-60 minutes.

Meanwhile, fill another large saucepan two-thirds full with water, add the 1 tablespoon salt and bring to a boil. Add the cabbage, return to a boil and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Drain the cabbage, rinse with cold water and drain again.

In a frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the cabbage and sauté for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In another small sauté pan, combine the remaining 1/2 cup red wine, the vanilla bean and the pears and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, turning the fruit every few minutes, until tender, 5-10 minutes.

Drain the meat and vegetables in a sieve, capturing the juices in a bowl. Cover the juices to keep them warm. Separate the pork from the vegetables; discard the vegetables.

Arrange a bed of the cabbage on a warmed platter. Place the pork on top of the cabbage, and pour the juices over the top. Scatter the poached pear cubes around the meat. Garnish with the parsley and serve at once.


Active Time:  30 Minutes
Total Time:  6 Hours 15 Minutes
Yield:  6 Servings

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