A trip to Italy inspired Belmont Butchery's Chris Mattera to create this braised dish. "In Italy, it's easy to imagine someone saying, 'Well, all we have is some pork, cream and a lemon—let's put it in the oven and see what happens,'" Mattera says. What happens with a big cut like this picnic shoulder is that the pork infuses the cream with rich flavor. Mattera also recommends trying this recipe with Boston butt or even rib roast.
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One 7-pound bone-in pork picnic shoulder, with skin
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
2 sprigs of sage
2 cups heavy cream
5 cups water
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 300°. In an enameled cast-iron casserole, add the pork, garlic, sage, cream and water. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the lemon in strips. Add the zest to the casserole. Halve the lemon and squeeze in the juice. Season with salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Cover the casserole and braise the pork in the oven for 3 hours, until the meat is very tender.
Transfer the pork to a plate and pat dry. Strain the liquid into a heatproof bowl and skim off the fat. Return the liquid to the casserole and boil until reduced to 2 cups, 45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat the oil. Carefully add the pork, skin side down, and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until the skin is crisp, 15 minutes; use 2 pairs of tongs to steady the pork. Transfer the pork to a cutting board, skin side up, and slice it 1/4 inch thick. Serve with the gravy.
Mattera's pork is tender and tangy (thanks to the lemon), making it an ideal partner for Chianti. Created primarily from the Sangiovese grape, Chianti tends to combine light earthiness with tart acidity.
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