Braised Apple-Fed Pork with Leeks & Sweet Spices in Hard Cider

Wayne Nish, March, New York City - July/August 1999

For 10 servings

  • 1 lb. unsalted butter
  • 3 lbs. med. leeks, washed, root and outer layer removed, green ends discarded, and white ends julienned
  • 3 lbs. med. Vidalia onions, julienned
  • 2 Tbsps. sea salt
  • 1 spice sachet (8 star anise, 8 cloves, 12 bay leaves, 1/2 cup green cardamom seeds, 1/2 cup coriander seeds, and 1/2 cup black peppercorns tied in cheesecloth)
  • 1 5-lb. fresh pork shoulder or leg with skin on
  • 1 750 ml.-bottle French apple cider
  1. Heat butter in large rondeau over medium heat; add leeks, onions, and 1 Tbsp. salt; sweat until soft.

  2. Place spice sachet on vegetables; lay pork on spices skin side up; add cider and remaining salt; cover pork with circle of parchment paper; cover with a lid; reduce heat to low; cook until very tender (about 3 1/2 hours for a shoulder, 4 1/2 hours for a leg).

  3. Remove rondeau from heat; cool pork in covered pot.

  4. Transfer pork to cutting board.

  5. Strain braising stock through fine chinois into a clean saucepan; discard sachet; reserve vegetables.

  6. Set saucepan over medium heat; reduce braising stock to 2 cups; reserve (keep warm).

  7. Remove skin from pork; carve pork into serving pieces.

  8. To serve, place some pork on large dinner plates; place pieces of pork fat and skin next to meat; arrange vegetables on plate; drizzle with sauce.

Chef's Note: At March, a roasted chop from the rack is also added to the plate.