Humble pork shoulder is a favorite cut for the budget minded paleo cook, but in this dish it gets dressed up for dinner as it is braised in a rich sauce of pancetta and red wine, accented by the food trinity of flavor and some fresh herbs. With a couple simple substitutions, it can even be made paleo autoimmune friendly (AIP).
This recipe is actually my husband’s creation and he originally made it as a pasta sauce (what can I say… his Italian roots run pretty deep!). While it is excellent tossed with some gluten-free rice noodles or served over zucchini noodles, it is also thick and rich enough to stand on its own as a complete main dish, perhaps accompanied by a simple salad or other vegetable side dish.
The key to making a nice thick sauce is to use a food processor at the beginning to finely chop the vegetables and then to allow plenty of time for the pork to braise in the sauce as it reduces at the end. Using a food processor is also helpful for “hiding” the vegetables in the sauce if you have any picky eaters in your house (not that I know anything about that!). We use this mini processor for this task.
Also, don’t be tempted to skim off the fat that will render from the braised pork shoulder – it is key to the rich flavor and fat from pasture raised pork is a great source of vitamin D and healthy fats.
Notes for healing diets:
- Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) – The Paleo Approach: Use a quarter cup of either canned pumpkin puree or cooked and pureed beets for the tomato paste option. The pumpkin has a more neutral flavor but will keep the color of your sauce more muted while the beet option will provide a red tomato-like color but may add an unwelcome earthy flavor.
- Low-FODMAP: Use only the green part of the leek, omit the onion, omit the garlic (or use garlic infused olive oil).
- Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD): Use a very dry red wine.
Braised Pork Shoulder with Pancetta and Red Wine Sauce Recipe
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 ounces pancetta, diced
- 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-2 inch cubes
- fresh ground pepper (seed based spice, omit for AIP)
- ¼ cup fresh sage leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped (omit for low-FODMAP)
- 1 small carrot, finely chopped
- 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
- 1 leek, white and light green part, finely chopped (use only green part for low-FODMAP)
- 6 garlic cloves, minced (omit for low-FODMAP)
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 2 cups chicken or pork bone broth, preferably homemade
- ¼ cup pumpkin puree, pureed beets, or tomato paste (use pumpkin or beets for AIP)
- OPTIONAL: 2 jalapeno peppers, finely diced (nightshade, omit for AIP)
- In a large skillet with deep sides or braising dish, heat the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering.
- Add the pancetta and cook until the fat has rendered. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a bowl and leave the fat in the pan.
- Season the pork with salt and pepper and add half to pan. Cook until richly browned on all sides. Remove with slotted spoon and add to bowl with pancetta. Repeat with remaining pork. Leave fat in pan.
- Add the fresh herbs, onion, carrot, celery, leek, garlic, and optional jalapeno peppers and cook until the onion is translucent (about 2 minutes).
- Stir in the wine, deglazing the pan and scraping up any browned bits on the bottom. Bring to a boil.
- Return the pancetta and pork shoulder pieces to the pan and simmer over moderately low heat until liquid is almost fully evaporated, about 10 minutes (this cooks off the alcohol in the wine, making this dish AIP-friendly).
- Add the bone broth and pumpkin, beets, or tomato paste. Return to a boil.
- Cover and simmer the sauce over low to medium low heat for 1 hour, until the meat is very tender.
Shared on Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable.PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.