A Spring Celebration: Braised Pork Shoulder with Peas and Eggs

March 9, 2013

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: When it comes to cheap feasts, my husband and I turn to pork shoulder. We typically smoke it over hickory splits for pulled pork, or slather it with spices and herbs for roasted porchetta. But for this contest, my mind turned to braising –-- not only because it’'s good to have a make-ahead dish when serving a crowd, but also because a one-pot dish is the perfect way to stretch an already economical piece of meat. My mind turned to a beautiful dish I recently spotted in La Cucina Italiana for l’agnello di pasquetta, a braised lamb dish which is traditionally served in Puglia on Easter Monday. What intrigued me the most was the final step of adding whisked eggs and letting them bake over the entire dish. So I adapted the recipe for pork shoulder, and along the way, made changes in ingredients and instructions. I added fennel seeds and tucked some lemon peel into the braising liquid. While the original recipe uses just white wine, I cut mine with chicken stock. I also added new potatoes (which nicely stretch the dish to serve more people) and finished the dish with lemon juice and tarragon for brightness. My favorite part of the dish is the eggs. They form a glorious crust over the entire dish which is unbelievably delicious with bites of succulent pork, spring vegetables, and the lemony tarragon sauce. They’'re also a judicious way to add richness without relying on more meat or pricier ingredients. This dish is a feast on its own and needs no accompaniments. If you prefer a few sides, serve with polenta with freshly grated Pecorino Romano and a lightly dressed salad of spring greens. Either way, your guests will leave full, happy, and feeling very well loved.EmilyC

Food52 Review: EmilyC’s Braised Pork Shoulder with Peas and Eggs is indeed a spring celebration. Bright lemon and tarragon make this dish wonderfully light, with tender chunks of pork melting in your mouth with each bite. Potatoes and peas turn it into a one-pot wonder, one that is sure to please any crowd gathered around your table. What sets it apart, as EmilyC herself suggests, is the golden crust of egg that binds the dish together. It is that something extra that makes a good dish extraordinary. I look forward to enjoying this feast again soon.gingerroot

Serves: 10 to 12

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder/butt, trimmed and cut into 1.5” inch chunks (boneless pork butt country ribs are a good substitute)
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed, coarsely ground
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (e.g. sauvignon blanc) -- serve the rest of the bottle with your feast!
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken stock, homemade or store-bought
  • Juice from 1 lemon, plus 4 long strips of peel removed with a sharp vegetable peeler
  • 1 1/2 pounds new (petite) potatoes, scrubbed and– left whole or cut in half, depending on size
  • 2 cups (1/2 pound) frozen peas
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino romano
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 300 degrees F with rack in the middle.
  2. Blot the pork dry with paper towels (you want to start with dry meat so it will properly brown), and season generously with kosher salt and pepper.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a 5 ½ quart (or larger) dutch oven or casserole over medium-high heat, and then add the pork in a single layer, being careful not to overcrowd the meat. (You may need to brown the meat in a few batches.) Brown the meat on all sides, about 10 to 12 minutes total. Transfer the browned meat to a plate; set aside. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the dutch oven.
  4. Add the onion and fennel seed and sauté over medium heat until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. As the onion starts to sweat, scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a spatula or wooden spoon.
  5. Add the white wine, and stir to deglaze any remaining brown bits. Let reduce at a vigorous simmer for about 1 minute. Add the pork and any juices that have accumulated back to the pan, then add just enough chicken stock to come about 3/4 way up the sides of the pork. Add the strips of lemon zest.
  6. Wet a sheet of parchment paper, crumple it, and cover the pot, pressing down so that the paper nearly touches the meat and the edges hang over the side. Cover the pot, and transfer it to the oven to braise until the pork is very tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Check after 30 minutes to make sure the liquid isn’t simmering too vigorously. If it is, lower the oven temperature by 10 or 15 degrees and/or set the lid slightly ajar.
  7. When the pork is done, transfer it to a work surface. Pour the sauce through a fine strainer into a large bowl, discarding all of the solids. Skim off any visible fat with a spoon, or use a fat separator to remove the fat from the sauce.
  8. Remove and discard gristle and any large pieces of un-rendered fat from the pork.
  9. Cook the new potatoes in a large pot of boiling, well-salted water until they’'re just tender (not mushy).
  10. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine eggs and cheese; whisk together. Season with salt and pepper.
  11. Shortly before serving, heat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  12. Return the pork and sauce to the dutch oven, and warm over low heat. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Add some lemon juice if more acidity is needed. It's time well spent to taste and tinker until you get the right flavor and balance in your sauce.
  13. Once at a bare simmer, nestle the cooked potatoes among the chunks of pork, then do the same with the frozen peas. Add the egg mixture over the top in an even layer. Tightly cover the pot and return to the oven, about 6 to 8 minutes, or until the eggs just begin to set. Then uncover the pot and cook until the edges of the egg begin to brown, about 10 minutes more (though time may vary). Spoon off any fat that may rise to the top. (The eggs may sink a bit at first, and you might think you've ruined your dish, but carry on -- the eggs will set up and form a slightly golden crust over the pork. Just monitor closely and have faith!) Remove from oven. Scatter fresh tarragon over the top and add lemon juice to taste before serving (or serve with lemon wedges on the side).
  14. If preparing this dish in advance, complete steps 1 –through 8, placing the meat in a tall container and pouring the braising liquid on top. Refrigerate. The following day, lift off the congealed fat and discard. Let the meat come to room temperature. About 1/2 hour before serving, place the meat in an ovenproof dish in a 325 degree F oven with the braising liquid. The pork will take about 30 minutes to reheat. Then, proceed with steps 9 through 13.

More Great Recipes:
Egg|Fennel|Pea|Pork|Tarragon|Slow Cook|One-Pot Wonders|Make Ahead|Easter|Spring|Entree

Reviews (20) Questions (1)

20 Reviews

Alicefive February 11, 2015
Just found this recipe this past weekend. Cooked it and wow...unusual and amazing.
 
Author Comment
EmilyC February 12, 2015
Unusual and amazing -- I like that! : ) Thanks so much for trying it.
 
wordridden April 6, 2013
The minute I saw this recipe, I was eager to try that unusual egg technique. And it was *delicious*; I love how the egg kind of soaks up some of the rich pork juices and everything turns into a soft, yummy bowl of comfort. I substituted lemon thyme for the tarragon and it worked a treat.
 
Author Comment
EmilyC April 6, 2013
This is fantastic to hear, and I love your description of the eggs! Thanks so much for trying it and reporting back!
 
hardlikearmour April 4, 2013
I've been remiss in commenting! We had this dish on Easter Sunday. It is incredibly delicious and comforting. I loved the eggs! I may try adding an extra one or two next time.
 
Author Comment
EmilyC April 5, 2013
So happy you tried and liked it, HLA! We loved the eggs too. Similar to adding extra eggs, I've also wondered about adding a bit of cream to the eggs before baking them. Fun to experiment!
 
fiveandspice March 28, 2013
Congrats on the CP Emily! This is such a unique dish. If our Easter menu wasn't an unchangeable fixture, I would totally make this for Easter, but I'll just have to make it next week!
 
Author Comment
EmilyC March 28, 2013
Thanks Em! It was a big hit in our house -- and the leftovers fed us all week! I'd be thrilled if you try it -- let me know what you think if you do.
 
gingerroot March 13, 2013
This is gorgeous, EmilyC! I love everything about this and can't wait to try it.
 
Author Comment
EmilyC March 13, 2013
Aw, thanks, gingerroot! : )
 
Madhuja March 12, 2013
This looks so amazing! Adding the eggs is such a neat idea!
 
Author Comment
EmilyC March 13, 2013
Thanks Madhuja! I thought the same thing when I spotted the recipe in La Cucina -- the eggs transform a typical braise into something really special.
 
savorthis March 12, 2013
We eat lots of pork shoulder too- usually in carnitas or braised in milk and this is a great new idea!
 
Author Comment
EmilyC March 12, 2013
Thanks savorthis! Love both of those preparations too!
 
hardlikearmour March 10, 2013
I'm in awe! This is spectacular -- a definite contender for Easter dinner at my house.
 
Author Comment
EmilyC March 10, 2013
Thanks hla -- this means a lot coming from you! : )
 
lapadia March 11, 2013
Agree with HLA, this screams Easter! Beautiful recipe, a feast simple and frugal, oh, and I love thumbing through La Cucina Italiana. BTW – My mom, grandparents and family from way back are from Bari, the second largest continental city of Southern Italy, it is the capital of Apulia (Puglia) region, on the Adriatic Sea. Mouthwatering photo!
 
Author Comment
EmilyC March 11, 2013
Thanks for the kind words, lapadia!
 
healthierkitchen March 9, 2013
Really interesting! I'd love to go to Puglia, but until I can, I might have to try this!
 
Author Comment
EmilyC March 10, 2013
Thanks hk! We found it an interesting preparation, too! And I'm with you on wanting to go to Puglia.