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  • Cheesy Braised Pork Shoulder with Parmesan Brodo

    Cheesy Braised Pork Shoulder with Parmesan Brodo and Kale

    At Recette, we love the idea of taking a dish and deconstructing it. Here, we’ve taken the elements of the ultimate creamy, cheesy au gratin-y dish and re-imagined them as a delicious soup. We make a classic Mornay sauce using only Parmesan cheese (think: mac and cheese, potatoes au gratin) and add braised pork shoulder to give it a nice meaty quality. This alone is delicious…but we can’t just stop at delicious. We make it more interesting by adding a strong flavorful brodo to go with it. When you pour the hot brodo over the cheesy creamy pork shoulder, the flavors and textures meld together and you get an incredibly delicious and interesting soup. And the kale? Well, who doesn’t love kale? It provides yet another crunchy textural aspect to the dish and it tastes great.

    Servings & Time

    • Servings 6 to 8
    • Prep 40 minutes
    • Cook 5 hours


    For the Pork Shoulder
    • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
    • 1½ tablespoons coriander seeds
    • 3½ to 4 pound bone-in pork shoulder
    • Salt
    • Olive oil
    • ½ Spanish onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
    • 2 cups chicken stock
    • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
    For the Brodo
    • Pork bone (reserved from the pork shoulder)
    • 2 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
    • 2 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
    • ½ onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
    • 1 fennel bulb, cut into 1-inch pieces
    • Parmesan rind(s)
    • Salt
    • Black pepper
    For the Mornay Sauce
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 2 cups milk
    • Nutmeg
    • Black pepper
    • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated (save the rinds for the brodo)
    • 1 bunch lacinato kale, chiffonade


    For the Pork Shoulder

    Half an hour before cooking, grind the fennel and coriander seeds in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Rub the spice mix into the pork shoulder and season with salt. Cover and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

    Preheat the oven to 325°F.

    Coat the bottom of a large Dutch oven with 2 to 3 tablespoon olive oil and place over high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the pork shoulder and sear on all sides until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes per side. Watch carefully to make sure the spice rub doesn’t burn. Remove the pork from the pan and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until softened and translucent. Deglaze the pan with the chicken stock, scraping any browned bits from the pan, and bring to a boil. Add garlic cloves and return the pork shoulder to the pan. Transfer the pot to the oven and braise the pork, uncovered, for 4½ hours, until the pork is tender and falling apart easily, using the stock to baste the braise every 30 minutes or so. Let the pork cool in the braising liquid. Once cool, pick the meat apart into large chunks. Reserve the pork bone, if making brodo separately.

    For the Brodo

    Combine the bone, chopped carrots, celery, onion, fennel, and Parmesan rinds in a large pot; cover with cold water and bring to a simmer over high heat.

    Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 4 hours, until flavorful. Strain out the vegetables, cheese rinds, and bone and discard. Check the seasoning and season with salt and pepper, if desired.

    Alternatively, you can add the veggies to the pork while it is braising, and strain the broth after that is done. It will be less clear, but still delicious.

    For the Mornay Sauce

    Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. While whisking, add the flour and cook until the mixture is pale yellow and has a slightly nutty aroma, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk until a thick sauce forms and starts to bubble, 2 to 3 minutes. Grate in a bit of nutmeg and add black pepper to taste. Add the grated Parmesan and continue whisking until the cheese is melted.

    Fold the shredded pork into the sauce and keep warm.

    To Serve

    Heat up the brodo, throw in the chiffonade kale, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the kale is slightly wilted. Place a large portion of cheesy pork shoulder mix in bottom of serving bowls, pour about ½ cup of the brodo over each, and serve.

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