Raisin Braised Pork Shoulder with Gruyere Potato Gratin

EVP/COO and Director of Winemaking Jeff Meier savored this recipe when J. Lohr participated in an unprecedented competition, the National Pork Board’s Celebrated Chefs Alumni Summit.  This flavorful pork shoulder was the winning recipe from Celebrated Chefs Todd Downs and Robert Merrifield, which Jeff Meier prepared one holiday to the delight of our winery employees.  The winning chefs contributed a $5,000 check made in their name to Sri Lanka Relief Fund for Matara, a tsunami relief fund started by 2003 Celebrated Chef Kumar Wickramasingha, a native of Sri Lanka.  While the recipe uses a bottle of J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot as a base for its braising liquid, it also pairs beautifully with the Merlot-based J. Lohr Cuvée POM.

Ingredients

Pork Shoulder:

  • 2 quarts pork stock
  • 1 bottle J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot
  • 2 cups tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups commercially prepared raisin paste
  • ½ cup fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2T garlic, chopped
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 ½ lbs pork shoulder, boneless
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive Oil

Virginia Peanut, Peach, Golden Raisin & Mint Relish:

  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup Sherry, warmed
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 peaches, diced
  • 1 cup Virginia peanuts, toasted, chopped
  • 2T green onions, sliced
  • ½ T fresh mint, chopped

Gruyere Leek-Potato Gratin:

  • 4 Idaho potatoes
  • 5 cups whipping cream
  • 3T garlic, chopped
  • 1t dried mustard
  • ½ t nutmeg
  • 1/8 t Cayenne pepper
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 leek, white and light green sections only, sliced
  • 4 T butter
  • 8 oz Gruyere cheese, grated

Cremini Mushroom Spinach & Red Onion Sauté:

  • 4 oz bacon, diced
  • 4 oz Cremini Mushrooms, quartered
  • 1/2 red onion, julienned
  • 8 oz fresh spinach
  • ½ cup chives, chopped

Preparation
Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine pork stock, merlot, tomatoes, raisin paste, rosemary, garlic, and bay leaf in a stockpot. Simmer over medium heat until mixture is reduced by half.

Meanwhile, cut pork into eight 3-ounce slices. Season with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the pork and brown it well.

Pour liquid mixture over the browned pork in the sauté pan (there will be a lot of liquid). Cover the pork with parchment, and seal the pan with foil. Transfer to the oven to braise for 2 hours or until fork-tender.

While the pork is braising, prepare the relish: Steep the raisins in sherry for 30 minutes. Drain, and discard the sherry.

Combine the brown sugar and vinegar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add peaches and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add the drained raisins, chopped peanuts, onion, and mint; mix well. Reserve at room temperature.
When pork is done, remove it from the oven and set it aside until serving time. Increase oven temperature to 400°.

Peel the potatoes and slice 1/8-inch thick. (Do not rinse.) Set aside.

In a large, heavy pot, bring cream to a boil. Add the garlic, dry mustard, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper and mix well. Add the sliced potatoes and simmer briskly until tender. Drain cream from potatoes and reserve.

In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, sauté the leeks in butter until tender. Set aside.

In a non-stick baking dish, spread the cooked potatoes in an even layer. Scatter the sautéed leeks evenly over potatoes, and top with the grated cheese. Pour the reserved cream over gratin, and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Prepare the spinach sauté: Render bacon in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and onions; sauté until tender. Add spinach, cook 1 minute to wilt, and remove from heat.

To Serve:
Place a mound of the spinach mixture in the center of a large plate. Cut the potatoes from the pan using a 3” round cutter. Top spinach with the potato round. Place 2 pieces of pork on the potatoes, and drizzle each plate with 1 ounce of the braising liquid. Top each serving with a generous spoonful of Peanut Relish. Sprinkle with chives. Serve.

Serves 4