Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Good and the Ugly: Bourbon Peach Braised Pork

Bourbon Peach Braised Pork. Good, but well, homely

Some things are so pretty AND delicious that I have to post them. Some things just taste so good that I have to post them, too. Some things are so, so yummy that I HAVE TO POST THEM even if I can’t get a good picture of the dish. This is one of them. It’s actually pushed me to look into some food styling classes. Not kidding. Ugly food with a fabulous-I-can’t-stop-eating-this flavor. This braised pork dish is IT.

Foods that end up being largely brown at the end of the cooking time present a real problem to people like me. If the dish isn’t inherently pretty, I don’t have much idea how to gussy it up for a photo. A sprig of parsley won’t do.  And look as I might at good pictures of stews on other sites and in magazines, nothing clicks. Sometimes I think I’m “Plating Impaired.” I look longingly at the photos that Helene, aka Tartelette, posts to her blog, and while they look deceptively simple I know in my heart of hearts that in a million years, mine will never look like that. I even bought her book. Lucky for me, I do have a good palate, and this dish, I will immodestly say, is lip-smackin’ fabulous.

This pork dish isn’t BBQ or pulled pork,-- maybe a kissing cousin, but  it really is a stew, redolent of sweet peaches and smooth bourbon. While it really doesn’t have any roots in any particular cuisine, it does pull a bit of this and that from practically every continent that has a cuisine. And it all gets along just fine together.

Bourbon Peach Braised Pork

Note: if you don’t eat pork, this is wonderfully good substituting turkey thighs for the pork. Just remove the skin and bones before shredding the meat to  serve.

3-3/4 -4 lbs. Pork Shoulder butt strips or country style ribs
3T Kosher salt
½ tsp hot smoked paprika (pimentón)

2T safflower oil

½ cup bourbon whiskey
¼ cup soy sauce
1 lb frozen peaches
¾ cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
 3 cups coarsely chopped red onion (about 2 large)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teas. ground cinnamon
½ teas. ground cumin

At least 6 hours before you plan to cook the pork, mix the kosher salt and the hot smoked paprika (hot pimentón) in a small bowl. Rub the pork thoroughly with the salt mixture, place in a zip bag and refrigerate, at least 6 hours and up to 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Mix together the bourbon, the soy sauce, the balsamic vinegar and the brown sugar. Remove the pork from the fridge, and heat the oil in a large Dutch oven. Brown the meat thoroughly on all sides, in batches. Add the onions and peaches to the pot and stir.

Add the garlic, cinnamon and cumin and stir. Pour over the brown sugar mixture and stir.  Bring to a simmer, cover, and place in the oven for 2 to 2-1/2  hours, stirring  and turning the meat once halfway through to submerge the meat in the sauce. The meat should fall from the bones. Remove the bones and serve over grits or over chunks of fresh cornbread.

Serves 6.

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