Make Ahead

Balsamic Glazed Pork with Grains and Greens

March 11, 2013
0 Ratings
  • Serves 10 (at least)
Author Notes

When you don't have a lot of money to spend on a meal - to make something a feast, you need to put in some more time. This meal is cheap but it requires an investment of time to make it a feast! As an omnivore, I have a hard time imagining a true feast without a meat element. Pork shoulder is one of the most inexpensive delicious cuts of meat and fits the bill of a cheap feast perfectly. Another important way we can all save money and improve our health and our environment is to rethink the role of meat in our meals. Meat is delicious but it doesn't need to occupy most of our plates. Make it perfect and let it shine as a co-star along side some delicious greens and grains. I love the way Suzanne Goin takes a beautifully cooked protein and nestles it into a bed of vegetables and grains. And that is a perfect technique to serve a cheap feast. My pork shoulder is glazed with a sweet-tangy balsamic glaze. To counter that sweetness I wanted a nice bitter green - here, broccoli rabe that is tamed slightly with some garlic and nestled into a bed of toasty farro. I get my farro in the bulk bins so it is pretty cheap - but to make it even more economical, I mixed the farro with some long grain brown rice. Cheaper and a beautiful textural contrast. Into the grains are little studs of balsamic beets and on top is some crunchy toasted walnuts. Not counting pantry staples (olive oil, balsamic, bay leaves, salt, pepper, garlic, red pepper flakes, sugar, brown sugar) this feast worked out to a little over $5 per person. Not too shabby. This dish has a lot of components but you can make most of them ahead of time - another good thing for a feast. —meganvt01

What You'll Need
  • Balsamic Glazed Pork
  • one 7 to 8 pound bone-in pork shoulder
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Grains and Greens
  • 2 cups farro
  • 1 cup long grain brown rice
  • 1 cup sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 generous sprigs of thyme
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • 2 bunches broccoli rabe chopped, about 8 cups
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 2 bunches of beets, peeled and chopped into 1/3 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  1. Balsamic Glazed Pork
  2. The night before your feast, mix the salt and sugar and rub it all over the pork. Let the pork sit over night in the refrigerator.
  3. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Remove the pork from the refrigerator about an hour before cooking to let it warm up a bit. Place the pork in a baking dish and cover with foil. Let it cook for 6 hours, basting occasionally.
  4. While the pork is cooking mix the balsamic, brown sugar, and mustards in a small saucepan and simmer over medium until the mixture thickens slightly. About 10 mins, depending on how thick your balsamic was to begin with.
  5. When your pork is tender enough to yield to a spoon, crank up the heat to 400 and brush the glaze over the pork. Roast, uncovered, until your glaze crisps up, but be careful not to let it burn, about 20 mins.
  6. Let the pork stand for 15 mins. Slice or tear (or a combination if you like it to look rustic). You can strain the fat from the pan juices and serve alongside the meal but warn your guests that this delicious sauce can be salty from the pork curing salt so use it sparingly (but that porky sauce is sooo good!) Serve over grains and greens below.
  1. Grains and Greens
  2. Farro - In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 cup onion, 1 bay leaf, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and 1 sprig thyme and saute for 5 minutes over medium. Add the farro and saute it for 3 minutes to get toasty. Add 6 cups of water and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 mins. The farro should be tender but not soft. Strain the farro and remove the bay leaf and thyme stem. Spread on a cookie sheet to cool and avoid over cooking.
  3. Rice - in a medium saucepan add 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 cup onion, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1 bay leaf, and 1 sprig thyme and saute for 5 minutes. Add rice and saute for 3 minutes until toasty. Add 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 40 - 50 minutes (check your rice's cooking time) until tender. Pull out bay leaf and thyme stem and spread on cookie sheet.
  4. Toss beets with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in a 350 oven for 20-25 minutes until fork tender, tossing a few times while cooking. Toss the cooked beets with 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar.
  5. Fill a large pot with water and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and blanch broccoli rabe for 2 minutes. strain and spread on a cookie sheet.
  6. All of the steps until now can be done several hours ahead!
  7. To assemble the final dish: Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in each of two large skillets. Divide the red pepper and garlic evenly and cook over medium heat until the garlic is fragrant Divide up the farro, rice, broccoli rabe, and beets evenly between the pans and cook over medium high, toasting the grains slightly and heating everything through. Spread the mixture over a very large serving platter. Add the sliced meat on top and sprinkle the toasted walnuts over the grains and greens.
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  • LeBec Fin
    LeBec Fin
  • meganvt01
  • CarlaCooks
  • Boomdog02
  • hardlikearmour

Recipe by: meganvt01


11 Reviews

LeBec F. March 16, 2013
this has happened to MANY of us. According to others, there are some glitches in the 52 system. sigh.
Kristen M. March 16, 2013
Our tech team thinks they've resolved this glitch -- if you see it happen with a new recipe, please email [email protected] to let us know.
LeBec F. March 16, 2013
these seem to occur to MANY of us. sigh. i don't know if it's wishful thinking but too many tech savvy 52ers have said it for it to be false- "the 52 PC system has some glitches."
meganvt01 March 16, 2013
Clearly I missed some steps this time. Sorry for that but thank you all for your kind comments and for pointing out those missed steps so I could fix them! Weird - I vividly remember writing up the beet step - I don't know where it went :)

Beets - 2 bunches of beets. Peel and chop to 1/3 inch cubes. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 mins until they are tender. Toss with one tablespoon balsamic vinegar.
CarlaCooks March 16, 2013
Thanks! This looks like such a great recipe, which is why I want to make sure I've got all the info I need :)
CarlaCooks March 16, 2013
This looks really wonderful! One question: how do you initially cook the beets? That step is missing (plus an indication of how small they should be chopped), and the quantity is missing from they ingredients list.
LeBec F. March 16, 2013
In the blank space below,where i suggest a change to Step 5, what i suggested was:
"......Evenly divide the farro and rice between the 2 pans, over medium high, and stir to toast lightly. Add the beets and rabe and stir to heat all together........"
LeBec F. March 15, 2013
There are many reasons i find this a terrific recipe. I love the concept: relatively easy prep, doable in stages, that results in a complete and nutritiious meal- protein, starch, vegetables, nuts. Then there's the recipe writing>>I tend to think of recipe writers, joke-tellers and direction-givers in the same way: you're either good at it or you're not.I really appreciate a well-written recipe and this is certainly one- clear, articulate and well described.And the result> the flavors, textures and colors of the recipe are so well designed!

I do have 2 small suggestions: In Step 5, you might better achieve your goal with :
<.....until the garlic is fragrant. Evenly divide the farro and rice between the pans and cook over medium high, toasting the grains slightly. Add broccoli rabe and beets, heating everything through. Spread...>

Also, i hate to think of the nutrition lost from draining, after using too much farro cooking water. Better to ascertain and use the necessary amount of water, and not have any unabsorbed liquid at the end, yes? (For me, i find that the pre-toasting of grains, which i always do, lessens the liquid [and cooking time]normally needed for that grain,when untoasted.)
Congrats Megan,on all your hard work and super results; this should def be a Finalist imo!
Boomdog02 March 13, 2013
looks great, but you used the sugar twice, once in the rub, once in the glaze...
meganvt01 March 13, 2013
Whoops - good point. 2 tablespoons of brown sugar in the glaze.
hardlikearmour March 12, 2013
Love this one, Megan! You really captured the theme, and I'd gladly attend your cheap feast!