Rosemary and Garlic Braised Pork

Rosemary and Garlic Braised Pork

I had planned to post this recipe a few weeks ago while the Fall weather was cool but warm enough that we could still eat outside. Well, it’s all turned very cold and snowy here on the farm. While this is a good dish for cool Fall weather, it is simply a wonderful dish in cold winter weather.  It fills the house with a delicious mix of rich herbal and meaty scents, while it simmers on the stove.

This dish works great with a cut called “ham steak” , (which is a thick slice cut out of a fresh ham),or with any shoulder cut. The meat will need to simmer to get good and tender and while it does, it soaks up the flavors of the sauce. You could also use center cut pork chops, and they will be done much more quickly. For now, I’m dealing with a 4# ham steak.

Fresh Ham Steak

Fresh Ham Steak

This ham steak is from a pasture finished hog.  Look at that wonderful layer of fat. I cut off the fat layer and chopped it into small pieces. I then rendered the pieces down into lard in a dutch oven. A note about the lard: this lard is very good for us, unlike the processed lard found in the grocery stores. For further information on the health benefits of fat, from pastured finished hogs, I recommend this link:

Back to the rendered fat. Once the pieces have turned golden, remove them from the pot.

Rendered pieces of pork fat

Rendered pieces of pork fat

Chop the ham steak into small chunks. If you are using pork steaks or other chops, then do not cut them into pieces.

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Ham Steak cut into pieces.

Now toss the pork pieces with mustard or rub both sides of your chops with mustard. I learned this while we were in France in 1994. My favorite mustard is Dijon, but just about any mustard will do. It gives a wonderful depth to the pork while it is being browned.

Pork coated with mustard.

Pork coated with mustard.

Brown the pork until it looks golden and starts to send off a rich luscious scent.

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Browned Pork

Once the browning is complete, add the following ingredients to the pork:

Cream and white wine. I don’t use an expensive wine. I’ve found that any dry white wine works well.  I use whole cream that is locally sourced through our Good Foods CO-OP. I know that it does not have any gluten laden additives.  Even “organic” whole creams often have additives that are not good on a gluten free diet. The issue comes down to not being able to trust anything. Label reading is essential. If you can’t find whole cream that is mainly cream, then I’ve found that Half & Half is pretty good.

White wine and whole cream

White wine and whole cream

Add about 1 cup of wine to the pork.

Add enough cream to cover the meat.

Add the garlic and rosemary to the pot.  I used 4 large garlic cloves because I like a lot of garlic. I chopped the garlic into fine pieces, to release even more of it’s wonderful flavor.  I prefer to use fresh rosemary whenever possible because it has a milder flavor than the dried. If you have to use dry, then be sure to start with small amounts. I would start with a large pinch.

Garlic and rosemary

Garlic and rosemary

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All ingredients added and ready to simmer.

Set the pot on a the lowest flame, or heat setting possible, to simmer.  Cook until the sauce thickens enough to coat a spoon and the meat is tender. It takes about one hour for a pot of meat this size. If you are using pork chops, cook them in a large skillet where the cooking time will be no more than 1/2 hour. This is because the pork chops are thinner and everything will be more spread out in the skillet, so, the sauce will cook down and thicken much more quickly.

Here’s the finished dish served up with coleslaw and roasted purple and orange sweet potatoes. Um,yes the photo was taken a few weeks ago when we were still eating outside on our porch. The “Oh MY GOSH POTATO BREAD” is fabulous dipped into the sauce.

Finished meal of Rosemary and Garlic Pork with coleslaw and roasted orange and purple sweet potatoes.

Finished meal of Rosemary and Garlic Pork with coleslaw and roasted orange and purple sweet potatoes.

This dish would also be good with other vegetables or salads that could offer a tangy compliment to the  richness of the Rosemary and Garlic Sauce.



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