Sunday supper and more

Braised pork shoulder with apple-fig sauce

(Food Styling/Lisa Falso; Gretchen Ertl for The Boston Globe)
January 27, 2010

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Serves 4 with leftovers

1 boneless pork shoulder or Boston butt (about 6 pounds)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 onion, cut into wedges
2 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 large cloves garlic, smashed
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger root, peeled, cut into thin slices
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 1/2 cups cold water
10 dried Calimyrna figs, stemmed and halved
3/4 cup boiling water
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large cooking apples, such as Cortland, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1. Set the oven at 350 degrees and set a rack in the lower third of the oven.

2. Pat the pork dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt. In a large flameproof casserole oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Brown the pork on all sides for about 10 minutes. Use two large spoons to transfer the pork to a bowl.

3. Add the onion, carrots, garlic, ginger, and rosemary to the pan. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until they begin to soften.

4. Return the pork and any juices in the bowl to the pan. Pour in the cold water. Turn up the heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and transfer it to the oven.

5. Cook the pork for 3 hours, turning halfway through cooking, or until a fork inserted into the meat pulls out easily when withdrawn.

6. Meanwhile, soak the figs in the boiling water for 15 minutes or until softened.

7. Transfer the pork to a bowl; set the pan aside.

8. Pour the cooking juices through a sieve into a bowl, discarding the vegetables. Skim the fat from the liquid with a large spoon or gravy separator.

9. In the pork pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Cook the apples for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until they start to brown. Add the figs and their soaking liquid and cook 1 minute more. Add the pork cooking juices and bring to a boil. Return the pork and any juices in the bowl to the pan. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes, turning the pork until it is hot.

10. On a cutting board, halve the pork (reserve half for tomorrow’s pulled pork sandwiches). Cut the remaining meat into thick slices. Set aside 1 cup of the sauce without fruit (for the sandwiches). Spoon the remaining sauce over the meat. Lisa Zwirn