Friday, March 6, 2009

Spiced pork with root vegetables and gremolata

Let me start by saying this is an amazing recipe from Sunday Suppers at Lucques. It’s definitely one of the best things that I’ve made in the past few months. However, it’s also a very involved recipe, even with the changes I made to simplify some of the steps.

Was it worth the work? Absolutely. The plus side is that a lot of the steps can be done in advance, which is useful because this is going on my dinner party recipe rotation.

First, the pork. Chunks of pork shoulder are coated with coarsely crushed spices, garlic and fresh herbs. The meat needs to sit in the fridge overnight with the spice rub, so plan accordingly. You want a coarse grind on the spices, so a mortar and pestle is the optimal tool. If you don’t have one, you could probably do this in the food processor, just be careful not to grind too fine.

After the pork has had enough time to absorb the flavors of the rub, it’s browned in a little oil. You’ll probably have to brown the meat in two or three batches. Chopped onion, carrot and fennel are added to the pan, along with white wine, chicken stock, lemon zest and sprigs of herbs.

The pork cooks for 3 hours until it’s meltingly tender. The meat is removed from the pot and the braising juices are strained and reduced until slightly thickened.

The second component of the dish is the root vegetables with gremolata. If you can find baby root vegetables, use them. If not, you can cut larger carrots and turnips down into smaller pieces. You can also add parsnips if you like. The vegetables, along with some sliced shallot, are sauteed until caramelized. A bright tasting gremolata of parsley, lemon zest and garlic gets tossed with the vegetables.

The third part of this meal is polenta. Use your favorite recipe – I just cooked the polenta with some chicken stock, salt and butter for about 45 minutes.

To serve, the polenta is spooned into a bowl and topped with some pork and braising liquid. The root vegetables with gremolata go over the top. Alternatively, you could serve this family style with the pork and vegetables in one bowl, and the polenta in a second dish. I think it looks more elegant when individually plated.

Spiced pork with root vegetables and gremolata
Serves 4-6
Adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques

For the pork:

2 tsp cumin seeds
1 T coriander seeds
1 T fennel seeds
2 lbs pork shoulder, cut into 2 inch chunks
1/2 tsp cayenne
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 T fresh oregano leaves, plus 2 sprigs
1 T fresh thyme leaves
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 c diced onion
1/4 c diced carrot
1/2 c diced fennel
2 bay leaves
1 chile de arbol
1 c white wine
2 c chicken stock
1 lemon
4 sprigs cilantro
salt and pepper
cooked polenta for serving

Toast the seeds a few minutes in a small pan over medium heat, until they release their aroma and are lightly browned. Crush them coarsely with a mortar and pestle.

Place the pork in a large bowl or zip top bag with the cumin, coriander, fennel seeds, cayenne, garlic, oregano leaves and thyme. Toss the pork and spices together to coat well. Refrigerate overnight.

Take the meat out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Heat a large dutch oven over high heat for 3 minutes. Pour in the olive oil, and place the meat in the pan in a single layer. Season the meat generously with salt and pepper. Sear the meat until well browned and caramelized on all sides. You may have to brown the meat in batches.

Remove the meat from the pan, set aside. Turn the heat down to medium and add the onion, carrot and fennel. Stir in the bay leaves and chile. Cook 6-8 minutes, or until the vegetables start to caramelize.

Pour in the white wine and scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Reduce the wine by half. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.

Using a vegetable peeler, pull long strips of zest from the lemon. Turn off the heat and add the pork to the pot. Tuck the lemon zest, cilantro and oregano sprigs around the meat. Cover the pan with a piece of parchment, pressing the parchment down so it touches the top of the meat. Put a lid on top of the parchment.

Braise for three hours, stirring once per hour. The meat should be fork tender at this point. Take the pot from the oven. Remove the pork from the pot, place on a platter and cover with foil. Ladle the braising juices and vegetables into a strainer set over a saucepan. Skim the fat from the braising juices, then reduce the broth over medium high heat for about 5 minutes, until it slightly thickens. Taste for seasoning.

Pour the hot broth over the browned meat and stir to coat well. Scatter the gremolata root vegetables over the pork. Serve with polenta.

For the root vegetables with gremolata:

Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 c chopped flat leaf parsley
7 small or 2 large carrots, peeled
12 small or 3 large turnips
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T butter
1/2 c of sliced shallot
3/4 c chicken stock
salt and pepper

Chop the garlic, parsley and lemon zest together until very fine, set aside.

Slice the carrots and turnips in half lengthwise if using baby vegetables. If using larger vegetables, cut into 1-2 inch pieces.

Heat a large saute pan over high heat. Add the olive oil and turnips, cut side down. Saute for about 4 minutes, or until turnips are browned. Add the carrots and chicken stock. Cook until the chicken stock has evaporated and the carrots and turnips are tender; you may need to add a little more liquid. Season with salt and pepper. Add the butter and shallots, and saute for another 7 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender and caramelized. Toss the vegetables with the gremolata just before serving.


78 comments:

noble pig said...

Looks delish. I love root veggies too so this is just a winner.

Butterball said...

Yummy comfort food! A little bit of butter; I'm hooked!

Tracey said...

That looks amazing! I have never tried polenta. I should really give it a shot.

Cheryl said...

Wow I always wondered what Gremolata was, and I will say it sounds complicated, but it sure looks scrumptious!

Kelly said...

The spiced pork and the polenta look so tasty! Pork, I think, benefits from spices because it provides such a tasty platform for them. Beautiful veggies.

teresa said...

What a beautiful and delicious looking dish! I am always impressed at what you make!

Kerstin said...

Looks rustic and delicious! Love your blog!

Sarah Herman said...

Yummy! I like using polenta because if you spread it on a baking sheet and refrigerate it after cooking you can cut shapes out and saute it for fun plating options! Anything that is slow cooked with veggies is right up my alley.

Reeni♥ said...

This is worth the work! It looks delicious and really flavorful. I love the polenta in it, too!

Melissa said...

That looks delicious! Slow cooked things are always yummy!!

5 Star Foodie said...

Yum! Definitely worth the time it takes to make. I love the idea of serving the pork with root veggies and polenta.

Donna-FFW said...

This so must be worth the work, it sounds awesome. I love the whole methid of cooking the pork. The dish looks spectacular!

Linda said...

Oh I have to try this...nice blog!!

Helene said...

Beautiful presentation, looks so delicious.

Elyse said...

Sometimes the most involved recipes are the most rewarding, and this pork certainly sounds rewarding--and delicious! Yummy, yummy! I can't wait to try this one. The pictures look absolutely delicious.

Ana Powell said...

Hi Sarah
Your recipes and photos are getting better and better.
Excellent x

girlichef said...

looks so homey and delicious!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

My husband would love this because turnips are one of his favorites. He's always asking to have turnips included in things.
I'm not familiar with the chili de arbol and haven't seen it in our market. Any substitute?
We live in pork fat country, as Emerill would say. This recipe sounds really good.
Sam

Grace said...

i do believe i'd enjoy anything served to me on a pool of polenta, but spicy, cumin-loaded pork sounds ideal!

Judy said...

I love this recipe and can't wait to try it.

glamah16 said...

I love long slow cooked pieces if meat like this. Beautiful presentation.

Cathy said...

Any time you can spend letting meat cook for long periods usually results in a tasty meal....this looks great! I love the spices in it.

Dawn said...

I adore the spice mix in this. I bet it tastes even better the second day.

zerrin said...

I love the combination of root vegetables with pork/meat. And looks so appetizing.

Sara said...

Sam - You can substitute a pinch of chile flakes for the same effect.

unconfidentialcook said...

This looks so good, thank you! A reader just sent me a recipe for a roast pork with a vegetable cobbler that I'm going to post soon. It must be in the air!

Cassie said...

Wow, Sara, that looks delicious! It definitely looks like it was worth the effort. What a gorgeous photo, too.

Chef E said...

Oh Sara that is gorgeous! I love petite carrots, and the pork spices sound so yummy! Gremolata is not something you see often...wish I had some...

Sarah Herman said...

Good luck on your photos, if you have any questions I would be happy to help, or find the answer if I don't know. ( photography can be sooooo much fun and rewarding! )

Kevin said...

What a great meal! Tasty pork on polenta with gremolata...mmm...

Gera @ SweetsFoods said...

Hi Sara!

Amazing dish for the harmony of ingredients the delicious pork, the veggies and polenta as a great gorgeous mattress!
Really magnificent..drooling for dinner :)

All the best!
Gera

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

Fantastic Sara! I love slow cooked pork, it makes it so meltingly tender :) I'm making a polenta dish this week with veal. It's delicious isn't it!

Sean said...

Great presentation! I bet that pork is fork tender and just melts in your mouth. Mmm

Jan said...

Mmmm! That looks amazing, Sara. Fabulous flavors, I'm sure it was well worth the effort.

pigpigscorner said...

Great flavours there and it's definitely worth it!

Netts Nook said...

Your pork looks mouth watering I can't wait to try. Thanks for making it a little easier.

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

I love that cookbook, Sunday Suppers at Lucques. This dish sounds delicious.

Irene said...

I would love to be invited to that dinner party!!! Sunday Suppers at Lucques is definitely one of my favorite cook books.

Elra said...

I love gremolata, I like to sprinkle this on everything, even on my omellete.
This meal sounds so perfect for my family brunch, maybe not with pork so that my husband can eat it too.
Cheers,
elra

Gloria Chadwick said...

This sounds absolutely delicious and your picture is beautiful! I'm adding the recipe to my very long list of really good recipes. :)

Claudia said...

Now this looks like it may be worth another month of winter. I don't care about the effort if it is worth it. Like the questions my cousins and I always ask ourselves, "Was it worth the calories?" This is!

Bridgett said...

This looks fabulous! I love root veggies as well.

Karen said...

It just doesn't get any better than this. This looks and sounds sooo good.

Natashya said...

Sounds wonderful! I just discovered gremolata last year, now I wonder where it has been all my life!

jesse said...

Wow Sara, that looks absolutely divine. I love the gremolata recipe... and your picture is to die for!

Kathleen said...

That looks wonderful..great meal for a chilly day..
Thanks so much for your visit to my blog!

mamakd said...

Great job, Sara! That definitely looks like it is worth the wait. What a great lazy day Sunday dinner, well, maybe not too lazy. I just started plating dinners for my family and I love it! I agree with you, it makes it so elegant.

Melissa said...

Sometimes the long, complicated recipes are worth the work! This sounds amazing!

Gabe's Girl said...

What a beautiful dish! I absolutely love many of the ingredients you use and I use them every day! I love cumin and cilantro. I can not be without them. I also love my mortar and pestle (or molcajete). This was truly a unique and eye catching meal!

ttfn300 said...

elegant, indeed!

Melissa said...

I left you something on my blog!

Pam said...

What a beautiful and tasty meal. I love the flavors you used!

Sophie said...

What a beautiful plate of fabulous food, Sara!!! MMMMMMM.... I love all the flavours!!

Emily said...

Wow! This is CRAZY! This is like the ultimate meal. You know what I really want? The polenta. That sounds so good right now.

Culinarywannabe said...

How delicious looking! And I LOVE polenta!

Tanya said...

I'm always looking for new recipes for pork and this looks fabulous!

Alex said...

Anything with gremolata gets the thumbs up from me!

Rob said...

Yummy

Katherine Aucoin said...

This meal is eye candy! The combination of flavors is fantastic!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Another wonderful dish! The presentation is gorgeous and the food is really appetizing, as usual!

cheers,

Rosa

The Caked Crusader said...

Beautiful presentation. They say that "the first bite is with the eye" but I reckon I'm about halfway through that plateful just reading this post!

Karin said...

Sara, you provide me with inspiration ... although I seldom have the time to spend hours working in the kitchen with time consuming and complicated recipes

Olga said...

Great flavors! Love every single component of this meal.

♥Rosie♥ said...

That looks amazing and so colourful on the plate! Just love this dish.

Rosie x

Diana said...

My mom and I made the famous Lucques' short ribs for a small dinner party a few weeks ago -- amazing! I bet this recipe is equally (if not more) delectable. Suzanne Goin is awesome!

The Duo Dishes said...

Mmm gremolata. Lucky for us L.A. has such great restaurants. We are really, really lucky!

Jescel said...

I would totally pay for a meal like this.. looks hearty and delish!

Soma said...

Yes Great minds think alike:-)
I love your blog sara... what an awesome place & awesomg recipes.

Leah said...

I love your blog Sara.

Great presentation on this dish!

The Food Hunter said...

This is awesome. I've been looking for a new pork shoulder recipe. I think I just found one. Thanks

Rowena said...

Mention the word gremolata and I'm there. Thanks for stopping by....the cake and bears are long gone!

Carolyn Jung said...

I love Lucques. Have only been once, and somehow serendipity intervened and we were able to snag a last-minute reservation on Easter Sunday of all Sundays. If you haven't had a chance to enjoy a "Sunday Supper at Lucques,'' do try to the next time you're in Los Angeles. The meal is always made with the best ingredients. And it's quite the bargain for what you get.

Dee said...

Amazing as always. Do you plate all your dinners? I'm feeling a little inadequate here, sob. By the way, thanks for the asparagus, vinaigrette and eggs mimosa recipe. I'm nicking this, if you don't mind :)

Sara said...

Diana - haven't made the Lucques short ribs yet, but they're on my list of recipes to try.

Carolyn - Been to Lucques for lunch, but not for sunday supper.

Dee - I don't plate all my dinners, just once in a while, especially if it's something I've put a lot of time into

melissa said...

That looks just lovely. Another winner from Goin, eh?

Girl Japan said...

I just wanted to say again.. Your plating is FANTASTIC! I can see this dish on a swank menu somewhere = )

Ricardo said...

we "Portuguese" also use polenta as a savoury element to dishes, whith fish and meats, as you elegantly shown working really well with the pork. But also is used in sweets, very popular. well done gratz on this well constructed dish. :D

Dazy said...

My favorite is pork curry. This also sounds tempting. But my kids don't like this. And also pork is not suitable in this blistering summer. I plan to make it for my family and give them a surprise in the coming monsoon.