Day Twelve: Pomegranate Spice Pork Shoulder

6 Dec

Saturday we had some great friends come into town and stay with us. Saskia and Donner are so much fun to eat with – they, just like Christian and me, love to make the occasional meal an experience, not just a dinner. These events are always a good time, and surely end with a dance party (reverse choo choo and jack-knifing, of course) to work off all the food. This Saturday was no exception. In fact, this Saturday was taken to a whole new level with the addition of the now-permanent disco ball hanging in the bar.

Still working my way through random ingredients leftover from the holiday meal, I really wanted to use up the pomegranate juice that is in the fridge.  I zeroed in on this as a great ingredient to work around for a new pork dish. My thought was to create a dish with Moroccanish flavors, using lots of spices, orange and pomegranate.

This was a pretty simple entertaining dinner, as far as I’m concerned. I really wanted the pork to be the main focus and not get too many things going on. So we opted to serve this with brown rice couscous and some pan roasted carrots with saffron butter. Nothing fancy, just simple and good.  Before dinner we started with some pomegranate-ginger champagne cocktails, and then moved on to an Alsatian Gewurztraminer to serve with this fabulously stinky Alsatian muenster I picked up at Whole Foods, along with some caraway crackers.  We finished dinner with a triple cream brie with creme fraiche alongside some berries and grapes. This cheese, from Whole Foods as well, is like addictive liquid cheese – it is amazingly creamy and gooey. I can’t get enough of it, but was glad we had 2 other people to help us eat it. Christian and I once ate an entire wedge after dinner. Gross, but so good.

A quick note about the couscous – this stuff, made by Lundberg’s, has been the best discovery since Rudi’s GF bread. I really love couscous, and this tastes just like the real thing. In fact, Christian has commented that he likes it better than regular couscous. That is saying a lot.

Anyway, back to the dinner. The pork turned out great – just what I was hoping for. The orange flavor really came out and balanced the tartness of the pomegranate. The pork was very tender, and just on the verge of totally falling apart. This was good because I had wanted to serve it sliced rather than as a shredded platter of meat. All of the components of the meal worked really well together – the simple couscous was a great base for the pork and the pan juices/sauce. And while the taste of saffron is pretty difficult to describe and varies so much, all I can say is that the flavor with the butter and carrots was divine and a wonderful accompaniment to the pork.

Pomegranate Spice Pork Shoulder

  • 3lb boneless pork shoulder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • zest of one orange
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • juice of one orange
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup red wine
  • chopped mint

Mix the paprika through salt together in a small bowl. Rub all over the pork and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat some olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat and brown pork on all side, about 10 minutes total. Remove pork and set aside. Add the orange juice, pomegranate juice and red wine to the pot and stir, scraping up browned bits on the bottom. Add the bay leaf and garlic and bring to a boil. Add the pork shoulder, cover, and transfer to the oven.

Cook the meat for about 3 hours, until tender, turning every 45 minutes or so. When done, remove the meat and let it rest. Heat the pot over high heat and bring to a boil; cook the liquid down for about 8 minutes. Slice meat and transfer to a platter, drizzle with some of the sauce, and garnish with some chopped mint. Serve remaining sauce alongside the pork.

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2 Responses to “Day Twelve: Pomegranate Spice Pork Shoulder”

  1. Jason Dilger December 6, 2010 at 3:39 PM #

    Great subject, I didn’t realize you were that into pork. How about pork sausage?

    • Kristina December 7, 2010 at 9:47 AM #

      Yep, I love it. How could anyone not?! Pork sausage is typically made from pork shoulder, so there will be some of that included in this project. But I can’t just buy the sausage, per my rules – I’ll have to make it, so I’m waiting on that!

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