Friday, May 2, 2014

Peach Braised Pulled Pork

We subscribe to several food magazines and my 'favorite' food magazine frequently changes. Lately, I've been enjoying Saveur most of all. It's not because of the recipes, because honestly, I probably clip the fewest recipes from Saveur. It's because of the articles, of really going into a culture or area. Even if I don't like seafood that much, I loved the recent seafood guide issue - so much interesting information.
A couple of issues ago (March 2014), there was an article about a California peach farmer and some peach recipes. One in particular caught my eye: Peach Braised Pulled Pork. It caught my eye because braising means a chance to use our Le Creuset Dutch Oven, which we adore, and because we've grown tired of our crock pot pulled pork recipe and have been searching for a new, exciting, flavorful pulled pork recipe. Specifically, this recipe is Peach Braised Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Dijon Peach Spread.
To be fair, I'm not usually much of a fruit and meat person, so I was kind of skeptical. I kept reminding myself how much I liked the flavor (but not the heat) of the apricot habanero with caramelized onions pork taco at Smoke, so I thought this peach pork might be tasty. Also, SP loves peaches and he likes fruit with meats, and he likes braising, so it seemed like a good dish for us to try.
SP bought a large pork shoulder at Costco and cut it in half so we had about 3 lbs to work with (the other 3 lbs went in the freezer). I gathered all the ingredients and then went off to shower while he got everything started and in the oven for the 3-4 hour braise. It wasn't long before I could smell it. I don't mean browned pork smell - I mean toasted whole cloves and toasted smoked paprika smell. Whew!
It smelled so good - but strong! Not long after this hit the oven, the house started to smell less like overwhelming toasted spices and more like the spices and onions and pork and beer - I couldn't wait to eat it. My mouth was watering with anticipation all afternoon - this always happens when we braise because the smell is just so lovely and wafts throughout the entire house.
Shredded pork with peaches. At first we weren't going to make the caramelized onions (time consuming and we felt lazy) or the Dijon mustard-peach jam spread (it sounded odd, that flavor combination) sauce, or even eat it as a sandwich, but then we decided to go ahead and try it as the magazine wrote it. Sometimes, part of a dish is quite good, but when you actually make all the suggested components, even if it seems like a little too much effort, the dish is elevated to fantastic. I think this is one of those dishes.
We didn't use multi-grain bread - we used some buns we had in the freezer. This is delicious! Smokey, porky, peachy, sticky, a bit sweet, a bit peppery from the arugula - so good! I think this is going to be our new go-to pulled pork recipe. I like this much, much better than the crock pot BBQ pulled pork we used to make, and in many ways, it's also simpler (fewer ingredients).
Do not skip the Dijon-peach sauce (it's so simple to make and is very tasty), do not skip the arugula (Market District sells a nice sized plastic container of it that was just enough for all our peach pulled pork dinners), do not skip the caramelized onions (worth the half hour or so it takes). The only thing we skipped was the garlic in the braising liquid.

This made 6 servings for us (3 dinners x 2 people = 6 servings).

**We used peaches in juice, not in syrup.

Recipe here.

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