Slow-Braised Pork Shoulder

This dish is loosely inspired by a meal I had at a Harlem establishment a few weeks ago, 5 & Diamond. The entree -- their Housemade Pappardelle -- was served with a delicious ragout of braised short ribs which was studded with cranberry beans and crowned with manchego. Rich and flavorful, the ragout had a curious kick at the end, and it was discovered (when we inquired with the waiter) that the chef had mistakenly added chipotle to this particular batch. After 48 hours of slow simmering, the pepper had imparted a smoky heat that crept onto the palate in just the right amount. We told them to keep "mistakenly" adding the spice, (and I'm secretly hoping to be the cause of a minor menu tweak). 

With this dish branded in my memory I decided to play with the idea of a slow-cooked, chipotle-spiked ragout. My version swaps pork shoulder for the short ribs and grilled polenta for the pappardelle, but beans and manchego remain steadfast accompaniments. 

with Red Beans and Grilled Polenta

1 lb boneless pork shoulder
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
1 fuji apple, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1+ tsp cumin
1/2+ tsp coriander
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped with additional sauce
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes, with juices
1 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup white wine
1 14-oz can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 tube packaged polenta (or make your own)
manchego cheese, grated

1. Preheat the oven to 300°. Season the pork with salt and pepper on both sides. In a medium ovenproof pot (I used enameled cast-iron 5-Qt Le Creuset), heat oil until shimmering. Add the pork and cook over medium-high heat, until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate.

2. Add the apple, onion and garlic to the same pot and cook over medium heat until beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Add coriander, cumin, oregano and stir. Add chipotle, diced tomatoes, stock and wine to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the pork. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover, and transfer the dish to the oven.

3. Braise the pork for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, turning once halfway through, until very tender. Transfer the pork to a plate, and, using, two forks, shred it. (Discard any large pieces of fat). Transfer the shredded pork back to the sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Cover and keep warm.

4. Meanwhile, heat grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill sliced polenta rounds until beginning to brown on both sides. Serve pork mixture over grilled polenta and garnish with freshly grated manchego cheese.


  1. Hi Alaina! I'm just cooking this now - looks great! I was just wondering - you make reference to carrot, celery and thyme in the instructions but they're not in the ingredients list! What quantities do you us? I'm going to go for 1 carrot, no celery as I don't have any, and a couple sprigs of thyme. You also don't include any instruction to add the coriander, oregano and cumin to the pot - I almost forgot to! I'll see how it tastes in a few hours.

    1. Jules-- thanks for pointing out these errors! I am not sure where the carrot, celery and thyme came from -- (I don't think that I even used them in this dish!) Strange. But I added the instructions for adding the spices and I apologize for the confusion. Hope it was tasty!