Maple and pork were meant for each other. Here I have taken a nice, marbled cut of pork and braised it for hours in a tangy cider and fennel broth. Once the pork is done the broth is used to make a sauce, adding mustard and maple syrup for the perfect sweet-salty finish. There is nothing refined about the sauce, just leave in the bits of garlic and fennel for a chunky, delicious compliment to the meat. Serve over polenta or potatoes and for all of you who are feeling resolute about your New Year’s diet… sorry.
Braised Pork with Maple, Mustard and Fennel Sauce
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3-4 lb pork shoulder
Salt and pepper
1 yellow onion, sliced
½ bulb fresh fennel, trimmed, cored and sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup apple cider
1 cup chicken stock
1 tsp fennel seed
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup Sugarmaker’s Cut Maple syrup
1 Tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 375.
In an oven proof pot large enough to hold the roast, heat the oil over a stove, season the pork, and add it to the pot. Brown on all sides and remove. Add the onion, fennel and garlic and sauté a few minutes more. Pour the cider and chicken stock into the pot, deglazing the brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the fennel seed and bay leaf. Return the pork to the pot. The broth should come 1/3 the way up the roast so if there is not enough, add some water. Put a lid on it and place the pot in the oven, lowering the heat to 325. Check on the roast every half hour to make sure there is still liquid in it and if it gets too dry, add some water. Braise for 2 ½ to 3 hours or until tender.
Gently remove the pork from the pot. If a large amount of fat has accumulated, skim some off the surface. Put the pot on the stove and add the maple syrup and mustard. Gently simmer the liquid and vegetables until it has reduced to a moderately thick sauce.
Slice the pork and serve with sauce on the side.