No, this is not a recipe for the arse of a pig. The term "butt" goes back to the old English use of the term as "the widest part." The widest part of a pig is its shoulder where you find the cuts people refer to as pork butt steaks/chops, Boston butt, and pork shoulder chops. With just a bit more love (red wine loves everyone), this often tough and cheap cut is transformed into a rustic and belly warming dinner.
For the last 19 years, I had no idea what the word "braised" actually meant. All I knew is that if I ordered something on a menu featuring said word I was about to be served a juicy hunk of meat. It sounded time consuming and something to be left for the chefs to handle. But braising meat is key for students.
Basically, it means you can throw simple ingredients together in liquid all in one pot, toss it in the oven, forget about it for a while, and then open the lid to a masterpiece that will have you questioning how such an easy recipe produced such a decadent meal. Here's the first recipe I used to braise pork butt and that my belly, busy schedule, and wallet have found comfort in.
Red Wine Braised Pork Butt Steak
- Prep Time:15 mins
- Cook Time:1 hr 10 mins
- Total Time:1 hr 25 mins
- 1.5 - 2 lb. pork butt steak or pork shoulder; preferably bone-in
- 1/2 bottle bold fruity red wine
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 1 onion optional roughly sliced
- 3 small carrots optional roughly chopped
- 8 oz. mushrooms optional half-inch slices
- Salt and pepper
- 1 pound wide egg noodles
- Parsley for garnish optional
Preheat your oven to 250°F. Let your pork come to room temp. Pat dry with paper towel and season both sides generously with salt and pepper. Chop all veggies into decently large chunks so they don't turn to mush from being in the oven for an hour.
#SpoonTip: Use whatever veggies you've got! Shallots, potatoes, canned tomatoes, greens, fennel, etc. all go well with pork.
Bring your oven-proof pot or deep skillet to medium heat. Add a generous tablespoon of butter. Once melted, sauté herbs, garlic, and onion to the pot until soft and aromatic (about 5 minutes). While that's cooking, bring another pan to medium-high heat.
#SpoonTip: Don't have a big enough oven-proof pan? Transfer everything to a rimmed baking sheet and cover tightly with aluminum foil before going in oven.
Once the onions start to get a bit of color, add the other veggies and salt. By now your other pan should be hot. Sear the pork in the pan for 2 minutes on each side to get a nice color.
#SpoonTip: To check if your pan is hot enough, flick some water drops on it. If the water evaporates in a second or two, it's ready. If not, try again in a minute.
After 2 minutes is up on the second side, add the pork to the veggies. Pour enough red wine to come about halfway up the pork. Let it come to a simmer, then cover with an ovenproof lid or aluminum foil and put it in the oven. Set your timer for 60 min.
About 15 minutes before your timer goes off, bring a pot of salted water to boil. Follow the cooking instructions on the noodles packaging to cook to al dente.
#SpoonTip: In my dish I used egg noodles but you can use whatever you have on hand.
I wanted a buttery mushroom sauce, so I cooked them with a tablespoon of butter in the pork pan. Once the pork is done, spoon the juices from the braising pot into mushroom pan. Let simmer and reduce to about half the volume. Then add butter by the tablespoon and mix quickly with a fork. Keep adding the butter until you have a velvety purple sauce (I added 3 tablespoons). Season with salt and pepper.
#SpoonTip: If your pork and veggies soaked up all the wine just add half a cup of the leftover wine to the mushrooms.
Add your noodles into the pot with the veggies and pork and pour your reduced sauce overtop. Mix everything together and garnish with parsley or more rosemary if you're really trying to impress.