Day Two: Coca-Cola Braised Pork

12 Oct

I’m not sure why, but for some reason I had a craving for a sweet and sticky braised pork, and since I never drink soda, Coca-Cola was somehow going to be thrown in the mix. This ended up being a very complicated dish.

The pork itself was amazing – extremely tender and full of flavor, thanks to the soda’s ability to break down the meat. The ancho chili adds a very subtle smokey flavor, and the tomatoes in the braising liquid cut the sweetness a bit (could have probably added more tomatoes).  The problem was how to serve it and what to serve it with.

I put it over a simple white bean puree, a la Luella in San Francisco, but that wasn’t right. The pork itself is so rich that the buttery bean puree just added to the heaviness. It needed a good acid or even bitter component to cut it. My husband started eating it with his arugula salad, so it made us think that maybe lightly wilted arugula or other braised greens would do. Another thought is that a small helping of mashed potatoes mixed with something like celery root might also do the trick, with the pork and a bit of sauce on top. I also think it would be amazing, without the reduction sauce, for carnitas with pickled radishes and onions.

Anyway, the overall thought was the pork was great, but rounding out the dish and finding the right side/vegetable will take a bit more thought.

Coca-Cola Braised Pork

  • 1  c Coca-Cola
  • 2 c chicken stock
  • 1/2 c diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 3/4 tbsp ancho chili powder
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lb pork shoulder, cut into 1 inch chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toss the pork pieces with the ancho chili powder. In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil over high heat. When very hot, add some of the pork and sear for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove to a bowl and repeat with the remaining pork.

Add the soda to the pan and boil, scraping up any small bits. Reduce by 1/4, about 5 minutes. Add the stock and boil. Reduce for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and pork, and simmer. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Braise until tender, for about 1 1/2 hours.

When done, remove the meat and cover with foil. Skim off as much fat as possible from pan juices. Reduce the liquid for about 5 to 10 minutes, until it is the consistency of a thin syrup. Return the pork to the pan with any juices that accumulated. To serve, place pork over greens, potatoes, or alone on the plate and drizzle with sauce. If you want, add crisped tortilla strips on top.



2 Responses to “Day Two: Coca-Cola Braised Pork”

  1. cory October 12, 2010 at 8:09 PM #

    There are a lot of carnitas recipes that use coca-cola. You could probably just go mexican with this, as well….although, I know that you can’t eat those little meat delivery devices that are pretty essential. I imagine that a salsa fresca would be a good contrast/compliment to the meat.

    • porkqueen October 13, 2010 at 7:32 AM #

      I think you’re right, Cory. And I can eat meat delivery devices, so long as they are corn. But that is what you’d use anyway, so we’re good!

      How’s BA and your eternal summer?

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