Caitlin's Dish of the Week: Braised Pork Shoulder over Creamy Polenta

Ingredients
Pork
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
2 stalks of celery, sliced
1 glass of full bodied red wine (suggest Bordeaux or Pinot Noir)
4 cups of chicken broth
1 can of chopped tomatoes
2 sprigs of thyme
handful of basil
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
Pork Shoulder 

Polenta
1 ½ cups milk
1 ½ cups chicken broth
1 cup instant polenta
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Method
If braising in an oven, preheat it to 300F. If using a crock pot, set it to low.

Salt the pork generously on all sides and add pepper. In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil and add the pork. Brown on all sides until crispy. Take out of pan and put in either a dutch oven or crock pot, whichever you’re using, and set aside.

In the same pan heat a little more olive oil and scrape up the bits from the meat. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery. Sauté for about 10 minutes until soft then add the red wine and stir, letting the vegetables absorb the wine. Add tomatoes, thyme, basil, bay leaves and S&P to taste then pour in the chicken stock. Let simmer for about 5 minutes then pour over the pork. Make sure the liquid nearly covers the meat by about ¾. You can add more chicken broth if needed, but make sure to add more wine and seasoning.

If braising in the oven, cover the pan and place inside the preheated oven for about 4-5 hours. You’ll want to check the meat periodically, basting any part that isn’t covered by the liquid. When it’s done, the meat should be falling apart and tender.

If using a crock pot, place inside and cover for 6-8 hours, until the meat is falling apart and tender. Also try to give braising liquid and veggies a good stir once or twice.

For the polenta:
Heat the milk and chicken broth on the stove and bring to a low boil. Turn the heat down to low and slowly add the polenta and cheese stirring the whole time with a wooden spoon. It will cook quickly so keeping stirring until thick and bubbly. When done (about 5 minutes or so), turn off the heat and keep in the pan.

To serve, put the polenta in a bowl with loosely shredded on pork on top. Add some of the braising liquid around the polenta and on top of the meat, serve and enjoy!
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