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Braised Pork Shoulder with Butternut Squash and Prunes

September 28th, 2022

braised pork

With slow, moist braising, pork shoulder becomes fork-tender and succulent. Trim the meat well before cooking and your stew will be rich but lean. Butternut squash and dried plums contribute the sweet notes that pork loves and bring the flavors and colors of fall to your table. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Syrah.


  • 1-1/2 pounds (750 g) boneless pork shoulder (butt), trimmed of fat, in 1-1/2 inch (4 cm) cubes
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 thick slices of bacon, about ¼ pound (125 g), diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons fennel seed, ground fine in a mortar or spice grinder, or 1-1/2 teaspoons ground fennel
  • 1 large fresh thyme sprig
  • 2 cups (500 ml) chicken broth, diluted 50/50 with water if canned
  • ½ pound (250 g) peeled butternut squash, 1-inch cubes
  • 12 prunes
  • 2 tablespoons minced Italian parsley, plus more for garnish

Serves 4


Season the pork all over with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large, broad Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the pot is hot, add the pork and brown well on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes, adjusting the heat to prevent scorching. Transfer the pork to a plate as it is done. Pour off the fat in the pot and return to low heat.

Add the bacon and let render slowly, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.

Raise the heat to medium-low, add the onion and garlic, and sauté until the onion is soft, 5 to 10 minutes. Raise the heat to medium, add the white wine, and simmer, stirring with a wooden spoon to release any meaty bits on the bottom of the pot, until reduced by half. Add the flour and ground fennel and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Return the pork to the pot along with any juices on the plate. Add the thyme sprig and broth. Bring to a simmer. Cover, adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook for 1 hour. Add the squash and prunes, re-cover, and continue cooking until the pork and squash are tender, about 30 minutes longer.

Remove the thyme sprig. Stir in 2 tablespoons parsley. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve immediately in bowls, garnishing each serving with a little more parsley.

Suggested Wines:

Thornton Winery ~ 2020 Syrah Plums and berries meld with a bit of sweet oak. With air, sweet dark flowers emerge.

Robert Renzoni Vineyard ~ 2019 Syrah Aromas of boysenberry Jam and barbecue ribs. Rich and polished tannins frame flavors of blackberry, tobacco spice, and black pepper.

Callaway Vineyard & Winery ~2019 Syrah Aromas of green apple accentuate both the nose and the palate, accompanied by bright acidity and flavors of honeydew and passionfruit.

Masia de la Vinya Winery ~ 2019 Syrah- This popular Syrah offers delicious aromatics

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California


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