Braised Pork

We get a whole pig about every 9 months. I braise quite a bit of it – it ends up very similar to pulled pork, especially when cooked in the oven instead of on the stove.

The other day I braised 2 trotters, a 1/3 of a pork belly and a 2 lb. leg joint.

Here’s what you need:

about 6 lb pork, doesn’t matter what cut, as long as you have some bones in it
2 large onions
3 large carrots
2 leeks
4 stalks celery
3 bay leaves
15 peppercorns
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
4 star anise (optional)
Fresh herbs – thyme/parsley/oregano/sage (if using the cinnamon and star anise, leave out)

Chop the vegetables in large chunks – carrots and celery in 3 or 4 pieces, the onion quartered, that big.

Put everything in a large pot and add the spices/herbs you want to add. Top with cold water and bring to a boil. As soon as it comes to a boil, put a lid on the pot. Place it in a preheated 150’C oven for 1 hour. Check to see if you need to add more water to keep the pot full, then turn the oven down to 135’C and cook for another hour. Check again, if the meat is starting to pull apart easily and come off the bone, it’s ready. If not, leave in for no more than 30 more minutes. Take the lid off and let everything cool off in the stock. Once the stock is cool, take out the meat and strain the stock. Leave the stock in the fridge overnight so you can take the fat off the top.

I use the meat shredded with forks in wraps, quesadillas, soups, on a bun, in wraps with coleslaw and other veggies, in risottos, in stirfries….

The stock will make great soups and risottos and gravy. You can freeze it in small containers to just defrost as needed.

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