This comforting dish of pork shoulder and white beans is cooked low and slow, perfect for a weekend meal at home. Once the meat is seasoned with fennel seed, salt, and pepper, it goes into the oven at a high temperature to get a golden crust; then, it's covered and cooked for hours at a lower temperature to ensure the meat falls apart. It’s served atop creamy beans drizzled with herb oil, which can both be made ahead of time. This allows dinner to come together in no time once you pull the meat out of the oven. —Colu Henry
Fennel-Rubbed Roasted Pork Shoulder with White Beans & Herb Oil
3 hours 30 minutes
4 to 6
For the pork:
boneless pork shoulder (about 3 to 4 pounds)
red pepper flakes
freshly ground black pepper
low-sodium chicken stock
flaky salt, for serving
For the white beans & herb oil:
large white beans (such as gigante or Royal Corona), rinsed and soaked overnight in well-salted water
yellow onion, halved
carrots, cut in half
celery stalk with leaves (if possible), cut in half
garlic cloves, smashed
tightly packed basil
tightly packed Italian parsley
tightly packed mint
generous squeeze of lemon
kosher salt, to taste
In This Recipe
Pound the fennel seeds into a coarse powder with a mortar and pestle (or alternatively, finely chop them) and toss in a bowl with the red pepper flakes. Season the pork very well with kosher salt (salt it twice as much as you think), black pepper, and the fennel seed and red pepper mixture, pressing the spices into the meat. If you can do this and refrigerate the seasoned pork uncovered overnight even better, if not, allow it to stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
Heat the oven to 500° F. Place the pork in a Dutch oven fat-side up. Pour the chicken stock around the meat to keep the bottom from scorching. Roast uncovered until the top begins to turn golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cover the pork and turn the heat down to 250° F. Roast until the meat is very tender and easily falls apart, about 3 to 4 hours more.
Meanwhile, make the beans and the herb oil. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic to the pot of soaked beans. Add more water, if needed, to cover the beans by about 2 inches. Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn down to a simmer and cook until the beans are creamy and tender, about 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the aromatics and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
In a food processor, combine the basil, parsley, and mint and pulse together until finely chopped. Add the olive oil and pulse again until the mixture is silky and emulsified. Transfer to a small bowl, stir in the lemon juice, salt to taste, and set aside.
Arrange the beans on a platter and add pieces of the pork on top; drizzle with some of the juice that has accumulated from the bottom of the Dutch oven. Swirl about one-third of the herb oil over top the pork and beans, and season with flaky salt. Keep the remaining herb oil at the table to spoon over, as needed.