Braised Pork with Apples and Prunes
This recipe, braised pork with apples and prunes (Épaule de porc braisée aux pommes et pruneaux) teaches you how to braise a pork shoulder in cider with apples and prunes. Learn how to truss the meat, stuff and braise a pork shoulder French style.
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INGREDIENTS (SERVES 4)
- 1 kg (2.2 lbs) pork shoulder or other cut, e.g. loin or rack
- 10-15 prunes macerated in apple liqueur or brandy for at least 30 mins – 2/3 for inserting into the meat and the balance for the fond de Braisage (braising stock)
- Apple liqueur or brandy (I used Le Birlou – a French apple and chestnut liqueur) for macerating
- 2 apples peeled, cored and quartered
- 200 g (7 oz) oyster mushrooms (100 g for fond de Braisage and the balance for the garnish)
- 1 large onion diced
- 300 ml / 10 fl oz cider (use dry cider if you want something less sweet)
- 2 tbs sunflower oil
- 120 ml / 4 fl oz crème fraîche (or heavy whipping cream)
- Branch of thyme
- Bay leaf
- 5 cloves peeled garlic
- Butter for frying
- Cooking string for the trussing: https://amzn.to/31r4oOn
- Cast iron pot for braising the meat: https://amzn.to/31iiXni
- Cooking thermometer: https://amzn.to/33tqHWg
- Preheat oven to 160 C (320 F) (convection oven)
- Insert about 10 prunes individually into cavities notched in the meat and dry off excess juice with a paper towel. Sprinkle meat with pepper and salt.
- Roll meat and truss securely with string.
- Using sunflower oil, sear the meat (on all sides) in a cast iron pot (Dutch oven) over a medium heat for a few minutes on each side until sufficiently browned.
- Remove the meat from the pot, tip the onions in and cook over a low heat for a few minutes (stirring from time to time).
- Add the garlic, thyme, bay leaf, half the mushrooms and continue cooking for a few minutes.
- Raise the heat slightly, deglaze the pot with the cider, leave to reduce for a few minutes then add the remaining prunes. Turn off the heat and put the meat back in the pot.
- Cover the pot, place in the oven and cook for about an hour. Half way through the cooking you will need to take the pot out of the oven and turn the meat over. Then check the temperature of the meat by inserting the cooking thermometer into its centre (it should be below 70 C). Place the pot with the meat back in the oven and continue cooking until the temperature reaches 70 C (158 F) which is when the meat is cooked.
- Meanwhile, heat butter in a frying pan and fry the balance of the mushrooms with salt and pepper until a golden colour. Reserve in a bowl.
- Adding more butter if necessary, fry the apple quarters gently for 5-10 minutes and reserve with the mushrooms.
- As soon as the meat is cooked, take the pot out of the oven. Take the meat out and reserve it on a plate or tray. Cover the meat with foil and leave it to rest while you prepare the sauce.
- To make the sauce, simply reduce the cooking juices (fond de Braisage) remaining in the pot over a high heat until a syrupy consistency. Adjust the seasoning if desired. Add the cream and whisk in.
- Optionally you can glaze the meat before serving: to do so, use the juices from the macerated prunes to baste the meat and glaze under the grill just enough to crisp the top of the meat – repeat 3 times for the best result.
TO SERVE :
Place the sauce (fond de Braisage) on a dish as a bed for the meat and surround the meat with the apples and mushrooms. You may also wish to add some more prunes (or apricots). Remove the string and carve the meat.