Catalan Braised Pork Shoulder With Dried Fruit

READY IN: 1hr 30mins


  • 1
    boneless pork shoulder, such as Boston Butt (about 4 pounds, trimmed of excess fat)
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper (kosher or sea)
  • 2
    medium garlic cloves, crushed with a garlic press
  • 3
    tablespoons light olive oil
  • 1
    medium onion, chopped
  • 1
    carrot, diced
  • 1
    cup peeled white pearl onion
  • 14
    cup kirsch (or brandy)
  • 2
    cups full-bodied dry red wine (with a lively acidity)
  • 1
    cup stock (beef or chicken or both)
  • 34
    cup pitted dried sour cherries
  • 12
    cup dried apricot (preferably Californian, halved or quartered if large)
  • 1
    large bay leaf
  • 1
    small piece cinnamon stick


  • Preheat oven to 325º.
  • Using kitchen string, tie the pork shoulder crosswise, spacing the ties 1 inch apart. Rub the pork generously with salt and pepper and the garlic.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 5 to 6 quart flameproof casserole or Dutch oven over high heat until almost smoking. Add the pork and cook until richly browned on all sides, about 8 minutes total. Add the remaining oil while the pork browns, if the casserole looks too dry. Transfer the pork to a bowl. Add the chopped onion, carrot, and pearl onions to the casserole and brown well, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the kirsch and cook over high heat until it is reduced to about 1 tablespoon, about 1 minute. Add the wine, beef stock, cherries, apricots, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and rosemary sprigs and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the casserole to dislodge the brown bits. Season the sauce with salt to taste.
  • Return the pork to the casserole. Cover tightly and transfer it to the oven. Bake the pork, turning it once or twice, until it is very tender and an instant-read thermometer registers 165º, about 1 1/2 hours.
  • Transfer the pork to a plate and cover it with foil to keep warm. Remove and discard the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and rosemary sprigs.
  • Transfer the casserole to the stove top and cook the sauce over high heat until it is slightly syrupy, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Remove the string from the pork and discard it. Cut the pork into slices and arrange on a serving platter. Pour the sauce over the pork and serve.