Pork Agrodolce – Treat Your Meat to Some Sour and Sweet
“Agrodolce” is a very generic Italian term for any type of sweet and sour condiment, and while it’s used on all sorts of things, it really shines, both literally and figuratively, when used for braising chunks of succulent pork shoulder. This really was a thoroughly enjoyable, soul-warming dish of comfort food, which is why I was so amused by how much it made me think of summer cooking.
I’m not sure if Italians “barbecue,” like we do here in the States, but this sauce very much reminded me of something we’d brush on a rack of ribs while sipping a cold beer. So, don’t be surprised if you see something like that happen once the weather warms up. In fact, a little touch of smokiness was maybe the only thing this dish was lacking, and we could have taken care of that with a little smoked paprika. Next time.
As I mention in the clip, once the meat is tender, and ready to serve, you’re going to have to decide whether to skim the fat. I’ll leave that decision to you and your medical team, but if you do, here are a few tips. It’s hard to skim rendered fat while it’s still in the baking dish, so I usually remove the meat, and pour the sauce into a measuring cup, or small saucepan. That way, we have much less surface area, and it’ll be way easier to spoon off the top. Also, if you make this ahead of time, and chill it overnight, the fat will harden, and you can easily remove it from the surface.
Either way, this pork agrodolce is amazing served on rice, pasta, polenta, or as I teased in the video, a big pile of ricotta mashed potatoes. In fact, I enjoyed those so much that if, and when, I adapt this sauce to the summer grill, I’m still going to use that as a side. But, no matter how you serve it, I really hope you give this it a try soon. Enjoy!
Ingredients for 4 large portions Pork Agrodolce:
3 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 3-inch chunks
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
1 or 2 anchovy fillets mashed
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup green onions
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
– Roast at 325 F. for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until very tender.
Note: While roasting, you can add a splash of water to the baking dish if things are drying out, and/or you can cook this covered after the meat has had time to brown. As long as the pork gets tender, and you’re left with enough agrodolce sauce to coat the meat, you did it right.
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