Martha Stewart's Slow-Cooker Italian-Braised Pork

September 13, 2018

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: Reprinted from Martha Stewart’s Slow Cooker. Copyright © 2017 by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Stephen Kent Johnson. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Crushed tomatoes, red wine, and fennel seeds give this tender pork shoulder recipe its decidedly Italian accent. Polenta makes the most natural accompaniment, although pasta and couscous are also good options. Serving it with red wine, however, is (almost) non-negotiable.

Food52 Review: Featured in: 10 Slow-Cooker Recipes Made for Fall TV Binges.The Editors

Serves: 4
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 8 hrs


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • Cooked polenta, for serving
  • Finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
In This Recipe


  1. Preheat a 5-to 6-quart slow cooker.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Season pork with salt and pepper. Cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer pork to the slow cooker.
  3. Reduce heat to medium; add onion, garlic, celery, and fennel seeds to skillet; cook until onion is softened, about 4 minutes. Add wine. Cook, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon, until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add to slow cooker along with tomatoes. Cover and cook on high until pork is very tender, 4 hours (or on low for 8 hours).
  4. Transfer pork to a cutting board. Using two forks, shred meat into bite-size pieces, discarding any large pieces of fat. Skim fat off sauce. Return shredded pork to slow cooker and stir to combine. Serve over polenta, sprinkled with cheese.

More Great Recipes:
Stew|Italian|Pork|Fennel|Celery|Slow Cook|Dinner

Reviews (6) Questions (2)

6 Reviews

The P. January 4, 2019
Made this recipe using five large pork chops which cooked in the usual ways ended up being dried-out hockey pucks. After about four hours the meat simply fell off the bones. Didn't have whole fennel seed on hand only crushed and the fennel flavor was missing. No polenta on hand, either. Used rigatoni. <br /><br />Recipe is obviously a version of Sunday Gravy aka "red lead". It's pretty good. Could use a sprinkling of chopped fresh basil just before serving to add that top note.
Louisa B. December 1, 2018
I have made this many many times following the recipe exactly and it is delicious
Ann B. November 5, 2018
I was looking forward to this dish. My husband makes a pork shoulder that is slow-roasted in the oven, so we thought this could be a nice alternative. Sadly, the pork was rather tough, and the flavors just didn't combine all that well to produce what I had expected based on the other reviews.
Julia October 14, 2018
This recipe is fantastic! I added a little more fennel than suggested and it was incredible. Great for a cold fall day!
Michele K. October 11, 2018
This was so freaking good. LOVED the fennel seeds--genius. Made awesome leftovers.
Linda D. October 8, 2018
Delicious! I sautéed the onion first, followed by the garlic, and finally the celery and fennel seeds together. I served the pork with mashed potatoes. Great to have flavorful sauce left over.