This is one of those meals that really screams Spring to me. A slow cooked meat in early Spring when there’s still a chill in the night air is just so, so comforting. And anything carrot and peas, is fitting for Spring, right?
But this sauce. UGH!!! This sauce. So, so, so amazing. You can serve it over any protein and it would compliment it brilliantly, I think. I wanted to spoon it into my mouth in a dark corner. THAT’S how yummy it was.
So I cooked a pork shoulder until it was falling apart, and the skin nice and crispy. I had seasoned it all over days before with an herb rub of ground fennel, mustard and coriander seeds, rosemary and ground cloves. My daughter and I made carrot gnocchi, that I caramelized in brown butter with sage and a pinch of sugar. I made a pea puree with greek yogurt and fresh mint. And dat sauce doh… Brown butter, red wine vinegar, golden raisins, capers, parsley… YA’LL!!!! It is the ultimate rich, salty, sweet, tangy tongue party.
Get. On. This. Now.
SLOW COOKED PORK SHOULDER WITH PEA PUREE
AND CARAMELIZED CARROT GNOCCHI
WITH BROWN BUTTER GOLDEN RAISIN – CAPER SAUCE
Take yourself a pork shoulder, butt, or picnic and place it in a roasting pan (line it with foil for easy cleanup later) and season the hell out of it with kosher salt and a combination of dried fennel, rosemary, coriander seeds, mustard seeds and cloves. (I generally start with about a tablespoon each of the herbs/seeds and then a few cloves, then see how much rub I have, and add more of everything if necessary.) You rub the mess out of that piece of pork with your seasoning, in all areas visible, and even those invisible. You place that seasoned pork in the fridge, uncovered, for up to 3 days, (but a few hours is still cool), and once you’re ready to cook, you preheat your oven to 350 and let the meat come up to room temp while the oven heats. You pour enough white vinegar into the bottom of the roasting pan to come up about 1/4 of the way high. You cover it tightly with foil, and you put that sucker in the oven and cook it for 5-6 hours. It will be fork tender and amazing by then. (Note- use this method for any pork shoulder, butt or picnic…. hell, you could even just use salt and follow the cooking instructions and STILL have one helluva piece of meat that could feed an army. It’s a back pocket recipe FO SHO.)
Bake 1 1/2 lbs. baking potatoes and steam 1 1/2 lbs. carrots until fork tender (I did this in the microwave. Cheffy bitches, come at me.)
Run them both through a ricer or food mill into a large bowl. (Note- the carrots are harder to ‘rice’, so sometimes I puree them separately and add them to the riced potatoes if they’re giving me trouble. Because the carrots don’t contain the starch that the potatoes do, pureeing them won’t negatively affect the gnocchi texture.)
Add to the mix…
- roughly 1 cup flour (I generally use spelt, but whole wheat is great, and obviously white AP flour works just perfectly)
- 4 ounces chevre
- 2 ounces parm
- 2 large eggs
- a lovely amount of grated nutmeg
Mix with a fork until a dough forms. Add more flour as needed to make the dough as not sticky as possible. The flour amount depends on the weather that day, the moisture present in your veggies… so just go by feel.
Pull out walnut sized pieces of dough, (using more flour if needed to keep them less sticky) and shape into gnocchi shapes, use a fork to indent them if desired, and set onto a sheet tray until you’re done shaping. (You can refrigerate these at this stage for up to a day if need be.)
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt it heavily.
Drop gnocchi into salted boiling water, one by one and be sure to not crowd the pot.
Remove with a serrated spoon or sieve and drain. (NOTE- I froze half of these at this point, for later use, so the rest of the recipe is for only half of the batch.)
Heat a large skillet with 4 TB unsalted butter, allow it to brown. (Do we all know how to brown butter? Totally cool if you don’t. Here’s the skinny- Begin to melt the butter on medium-high heat, once it melts, it will begin to bubble. It will then begin to pop. Once the bubbles and the pops cease, and there’s just silence… you’ve got yourself brown butter.)
Carefully place your gnocchi into the brown butter and sauté until golden brown on all sides. Season with a good pinch of kosher salt, a sprinkling of sugar, about 1 TB dried sage,
Once the gnocchi have caramelized completely and they gave a nice golden brown color on them, you’re done.
In a blender, combine the following…
- 1 1/2 lb frozen peas, thawed (or fresh if you got ’em!)
- 1 cup full fat Greek yogurt (I used a single serving size cup of Fage total plain… or you could always use sour cream if you’d like)
- small handful of fresh mint leaves
- splash(es) of water as needed
- pinch of kosher salt
Blend until smooth, adding as much water as needed (a small amount at a time). Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary, adding more salt if needed.
Brown 3 TB of unsalted butter.
- 2/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup golden raisins
- 1/6 cup capers… just use ~1/2 the amounf of raisins
- 1 TB light brown sugar
- a pinch of kosher salt
Let this bubble for about a minute or so.
Taste to check your seasoning. You want an equal balance of tang, salt, sweet, rich… and the vinegar needs to have mellowed out a bit. And all that depends on how much it’s reduced… your pan may be a different size than mine, so always taste as you go and adjust as necessary, adding more vinegar, salt, or sugar as needed.
Before serving, add a large handful of fresh, chopped parsley. And happily spoon it all over your deliciously unctuous, meaty goodness. (Don’t do meat? No prob. Spoon it over some roasted cauliflower for a veggie-gasm.)
So. You put all that mess together, and BAM. Spring on a plate, ya’ll.
It’s been one helluva day. I do hope yours was all awesomed and stuff. And I love you for all that is you. XO