Pork n' Beans

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Rachael Sheridan is the buyer for Cube Marketplace, which is throwing a Pork n' Beans party on Saturday, October 9 at the downtown rooftop space.  The event will benefit the Cube Foundation, which funds garden-to-table programs.  Rachael loves using Rancho Gordo heirloom beans and The Fatted Calf pork for her pork and beans.  Both companies will be represented at the October 9 event.

Braised Pork Shoulder with Slow-Cooker Beans (From Men's Journal)

The Pork
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4- to 5-lb bone-in pork shoulder
4 Tablespoons canola oil
2 chopped carrots
1 chopped Spanish onion
1 chopped leek, white part only
8 cups veal or chicken stock
1 rosemary sprig
4 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
4 diced garlic cloves
1 Tablespoon black peppercorns

1. Sprinkle salt and ground pepper on the pork very generously on all sides (don’t be shy; you can’t really overdo it here).
2. Place a large cast-iron pot on the stove on high heat, and add the canola oil.
3. When the oil is shimmering, lower the pork shoulder into the pot gently. Sear on all sides until golden brown, rotating the pork by hand, setting it up on its edge when necessary — then remove the meat and set aside.
4. Pour out excess oil, then add chopped carrots, onion, and leek. Stir to coat with remaining oil in the bottom of the pot.
5. Lay the shoulder on top of the vegetables (fatty side up). Add the veal or chicken stock so that it comes only halfway up the side of the pork, then add rosemary sprig, thyme sprigs, bay leaf, garlic, and peppercorns to the liquid. Bring to a simmer.
6. Cover the pot, leaving lid slightly ajar, and place in a 250˚ oven. Braise the pork for 3.5 hours, or until the meat is tender enough to pull apart with two forks.
7. Remove the pork from the pot and let cool to room temperature. Strain braising liquid through a fine-mesh strainer, return the pork and liquid to the pot, and refrigerate overnight.
8. Once ready to finish the dish, debone the pork and then cut the meat into 2-inch-square chunks.

Binding the Sauce
Right before combining the pork and beans, Keller creates what the French call a liaison, an emulsification that converts the braising liquid into a luxurious sauce. Keller just puts the drained, cooked beans into a skillet, adds enough of the pork-braising liquid to moisten them, drops in a couple of tablespoons of butter, and then explains the key: “A few drops of vinegar. Doesn’t even matter what kind because it’s so little you won’t even taste it.” The vinegar’s acid helps the butter and stock bind together and become silky.

1 lb Rancho Gordo–brand borlotti or cannellini beans
6 cups veal (or chicken) stock
6 cups water
2 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt
1/2 leek
1/2 carrot
1/2 white onion
1 oz bacon

1. Wash and rinse beans — do not soak — then heat the stock and water in a pot and add to slow cooker.
2. Tie together thyme and bay leaf and put in liquid with 1 tsp salt, leek, carrot, onion, beans, and bacon. Slow-cook on high until tender, about 4 hours. Cool and store in their liquid.

Finishing the Dish

3/4 cup large-diced leeks, white parts only
1 cup large-diced carrots
Canola oil, as needed
3 Tablespoons butter
1 tsp red-wine vinegar

1. Scrape fat off surface of pork-braising liquid. Discard.
2. Warm the meat and stock over low heat. Remove the pork. Pour the braising liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into another pot.
3. Return pork shoulder to its liquid. Simmer until needed.
4. In a large skillet, sauté leeks and carrots in oil until tender.
5. Strain the beans and put half in the skillet. Add one cup of the pork-braising liquid, the butter, and the red-wine vinegar to bind the sauce. Simmer 20 minutes, until the liquid thickens.
6. Set pieces of warmed pork in the beans and serve.


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