(The nineteen amazing Honorable Mentions in our Braising Contest will each receive an Apartment Therapy T-Shirt. We are methodically and swiftly presenting them all to you with the winning photos and recipes. Another cold week here in NYC: braise on!)
Recipe after the jump...
Jordanna says: Here is my new favorite braise of Macedonian Pork with Leeks, which I think is both vernal and rich. It is adapted from Paula Wolfert's Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean (1994). I especially like it for this time of year because the leeks remind me that spring is in fact here, even on what can be some cold and rainy March days, whereas the pork and tomatoes give the dish some heft and don't make me feel like I'm trying to kid myself that it's already summertime.
Leeks are cheap and plentiful at our farmer's market right now, and happily, the pork shoulder was on sale at Whole Foods for $2.99/lb., so it was quite an economical dish as well.
All in all, the braise took 2 1/2 hours. There is very little chopping or preparation. Probably the most time-consuming part is washing the leeks and browning the meat. I hope that you enjoy this recipe, and thanks for the inspiration to try out this dish on a lazy Sunday afternoon!
Jordanna's Macedonian Pork with Leeks
Adapted from Paula Wolfert's Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean
2 pounrds pork shoulder butt, trimmed and cut into 1" cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, grated
1 teaspoon dried mint (or 1 tablespoon fresh mint)
1 1/2 cup canned tomatoes, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
Salt and pepper
9-12 leeks, trimmed of roots and tough green tops
Couscous or bulgur for serving
Brown pork in hot oil in skillet over moderately high heat, turning occasionally. Pour off almost all the fat, leaving about 1 tbsp. of fat in skillet.
Add onion and brown, stirring, 5 minutes. Add mint and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, 2 cups water, celery and salt and pepper; cover and cook 30 minutes.
Peel away coarse outer leaves of leeks. Wash the leeks well to remove all sand. Halve the leeks and cut into 2" segments. Put in saucepan with 1 1/2 cup water, cover, and simmer 10 minutes (or blanch in microwave).
Rinse leeks in cold water, drain, and add to skillet. Partially cover skillet and cook over medium-low heat until meat is tender and almost all liquid has been absorbed, about 90 minutes. Serve over couscous or bulgur, or with fresh semolina bread.