Ale Braised Pork Shoulder

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Make sure to use a beer in the recipe that is full of flavour, but not too heavily hopped that it will render the dish bitter. Scottish or Abbey-style ales would be great choices. However, when it comes to a beer to drink with the dish don’t shy away from hops. Hoppy beers will help to cut through the succulent sauce, and will pair up nicely with the aromatics in the dish; fennel, coriander and sage. Great choices would be an IPA or British-style porter.

4 lb (2 kg) pork shoulder, bone-in (preferably blade roast, but picnic cut will also work)
2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil
2 tsp (10 mL) Hungarian paprika (not the hot variety)
1 tsp (5 mL) fennel seeds
2 cups (500 mL) onions, coarsely chopped
1 cups (250 mL) carrots, unpeeled and coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp (15 mL) ground coriander
2 tbsp (30 mL) fresh sage, leaves left whole
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) ale, mildly hopped
1 tbsp (15 mL) corn starch
½ cup (125 ml) 35% cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. In a large Dutch oven (heavy=bottomed pot) heat oil over medium, season pork generously with salt and pepper, brown on all sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove pork to a plate.
2. Stir in paprika and fennel for about 30 seconds. Add onions, carrots, garlic, ground coriander and sage and cook for 5 minutes over medium.
3. Return pork to pot along with ale and 2 cups (500mL) water, bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer.
4. Simmer for 3 hours, flipping once per hour until meat is very tender.
5. Carefully remove pork and keep covered with foil, strain the cooking liquid and return it to pot. Stir corn starch together with ¼ cup (125 mL) cold water until dissolved. Stir this mixture into cooking liquid. Bring to a boil while stirring, reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until liquid has reduced to a sauce consistency. If it has thickened too much “loosen” it with some water. Re-season sauce if necessary.
6. Slice pork into large pieces and serve with sauce.

Serves 4.
Suggested side dish: sweet potato purée and sautéed greens such as swiss chard or beet greens

Beer Pairing: Great Lakes Pumpkin Ale (Ontario, Canada)
Wine Pairing: Peninsula Ridge A.J. Lepp Vineyards Reserve Merlot 2012