The “other white meat” frequently appears on our dinner menu here at home for a variety of reasons. An incredibly versatile meat, pork can be showcased in many ways. It easily takes on the flavors of any number of delicious marinades and can be grilled to perfection, slowly smoked, quickly sauteed, oven roasted, pan roasted… or stir fried for a memorable and satisfying meal. One of our favorite cuts to use is the pork shoulder, or butt, because the marbling of the meat adds both exceptional flavor and moistness to the dish being prepared. We are fortunate in having an incredible International Marketplace here in the San Francisco East Bay that sells boneless pork shoulder at such a reasonable price that we buy several at a time, cut them according to the way we plan on using them, then freeze the individual packages. An overnight defrost coupled with a bit of creative imagination and inspiration lays the groundwork for a spectacular and satisfying evening meal!
The flavors of Greek Style Pork Shoulder with Green Olives and Baby Artichokes transport the senses to the Mediterranean. Each delicious forkful stirs thoughts of breezes rustling through the silvery leaves of the olive groves as the fragrant oils of fresh oregano and thyme both tease and please the palate. Let your imagination transport you to the beauty of the Greek Isles as you savor each bite of this delectable dish!
Greek Style Pork Shoulder with Green Olives and Baby Artichokes
- 2 lb boneless pork shoulder
Trim the shoulder of excess fat and bits of cartilage and cut into 1-1/2 – 2 inch pieces. Pat dry with a paper towel and season with:
- 2 T All Purpose Meat Rub
Remove the leaves from:
- 10 – 12 baby artichokes
Chef’s Note: Remove enough of the leaves so that the tough spiney ones have been discarded and the remaining inner leaves are soft and shaped like a candle flame.
Trim the stem from the bottom of the choke with a sharp paring knife, cut each choke into halves or quarters, depending on the size, and place in a bowl of acidulated water to prevent excessive darkening:
Bring a medium saucepan of acidulated water (we suggest a combination of cider or white vinegar and lemon juice) to a boil, drain the artichokes and transfer them to the pan of boiling acidulated water. When the water returns to a boil blanch the artichokes for 2 minutes. Immediately pour them into a strainer and cool under running cold water to stop the cooking process. The artichokes should still have a bit of an al dente crunch:
Chef’s Note: If the artichokes have taken on a bit of discoloration during the prep time in the acidulated water, do not be concerned! The blanching process in the acidulated water will whiten them back up.
Allow the artichokes to drain while the remainder of the prep is being done. Set aside:
- 2 T minced fresh oregano leaves
- 1 T minced fresh thyme leaves
Smash to flattened with the side of a chef’s knife:
- 4 – 5 whole peeled garlic cloves
To a heavy 12-inch sauteuse or dutch oven over medium heat add:
- 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
When the oil is shimmering add:
- the smashed garlic cloves
- 1/2 tsp red chili flakes, or to taste
Cook several minutes then add:
- the pork pieces, in a single layer
- the reserved minced oregano and thyme
- 3 – 4 fresh bay leaves
Slowly brown the pork on the first side, approximately 10 minutes, turning the pieces as they brown and continue cooking 10 – 15 additional minutes:
When the pork has browned tilt the pan to remove excess fat with a spoon:
- the reserved baby artichokes
- 1 T tomato paste
- 1 C dry white wine
- 1/2 C low sodium chicken stock
Add the liquid to the pan and increase the heat, bringing the sauce to a boil:
Reduce the heat to a bubbling simmer and reduce the juices until they begin to thicken and take on a syrupy consistency. Add:
- 1-1/2 – 2 C green Greek olives, halved
Stir to combine, reduce heat to a bare simmer, and cover the pan to marry the flavors, approximately 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning and, if necessary, add salt to taste. Remove the lid and toss the meat, coating all pieces with the rich syrupy sauce. Serve immediately from the pan, accompanied by fluffy steamed basmati rice with a crisp garden salad or vegetable of choice… Bon Appetit!
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