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Pork shoulder with Guinness, dried cherries and sweet potatoes

  • 5 cups Guinness stout
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (5 1/2-pound) pork shoulder roast
  • Coarse sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large red onions, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 5 whole allspice, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and roughly chopped

PREPARATION: Bring the stout, cherries and vinegar to a simmer in a saucepan. Transfer to a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit for at least 1 hour, or refrigerate it overnight.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Warm the oil in a Dutch oven over high heat. Season the pork shoulder with salt and ground black pepper and sear on all sides until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the pork shoulder to a platter. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the fat in the pot.

Add the onion and black pepper to the pot and saute for 7 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer. Add the pork shoulder, the marinated cherries and liquid, allspice, bay leaves, molasses, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and 2 cups water. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover the pot, transfer it to the oven and braise for 1 hour, turning the pork once during cooking. Add the sweet potatoes and continue to braise for 2 more hours, turning two more times. If the sauce is too thin or is not flavored intensely enough, ladle most of it off into another pot and simmer it until it thickens and intensifies. Then add it back to the first pot. Slice the pork and serve with the sauce on top.

Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 905 calories, 31 grams fat, 78 grams protein, 63 grams carbohydrate, 6 grams fiber, 259 milligrams cholesterol, 569 milligrams sodium.
Source: "Braise: A Journey Through International Cuisine" by Daniel Boulud with Melissa Clark (HarperCollins Publishers, $32.50)

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