Hello friends.  How are you?  I am well, but my head is quite lodged in a cloud of data.  Like the high peak of a mountain, caught in its own little weather pattern of eternal fog.  Would that I had some of the other characteristics of a mountain to compensate!  I trust that at some point it will all coalesce and I’ll be able to step out of it enough to see what shape it is – a bunny! a dragon! an armadillo! ah, the shapes clouds take on… – but right now I’m in the thick of it, hours upon hours of interview data.

(At least it’s the very best kind of data I could possibly be wanting to work with – people’s stories!  How precious!  Yet, I find this also makes it all the harder to do anything akin to analyzing.  I’d rather just listen…)

Also, along with Boston’s schoolchildren, whatever wonky muse I may be endowed with seems to be taking an April vacation.  Anyone who has seen Elizabeth Gilbert’s stellar TED talk on creativity and genius will know exactly what I mean when I say, my genius is being “kind of lame” at the moment.  (And, if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.  It’s fascinating and entertaining.)

I don’t consider myself “a writer,” per se, perhaps because of exactly the fear that Gilbert speaks about in her talk, that this would then come with attendent psychoses and creativity-driven total manic desperation to write.  I’m not saying I’m stable or anything, ha, but I can’t say that I’m prone to so very much manic desperation either.  But, I do write.  Obviously.  Otherwise this space would be pret-ty empty.

And, as with so many people who write, much of the time I feel as though sentences are delivered to me from somewhere else.  They come from some ether of words, and I stumble on them like precious finds at a flea market.   Which is not to say there is no work involved.  While some are already perfect, most things you find at a flea market need some scrubbing and restoration, perhaps a new coat of varnish, or at least a little polishing.  I usually fiddle with sentences a great deal after I receive them.  But it doesn’t feel like I am the one who creates them.

So, you know, don’t blame me if I introduce this pork now with much less pomp and circumstance than it deserves.   Pomp and circumstance it does deserve, though, for its sheer succulence and malty, nutty fragrance.  But, it is just as likely to receive a couple of snickers because it is made from pork butt, and it is a fact of life that butt is one of those words that it is very hard not to snicker at, even if you manage to keep your giggles on the inside.

Pork butt is a wonderful cut of meat to work with, though.  Particularly if your aim is to leave your supper to attend to itself, cooking low and slow until it is falling apart, so tender it could be shredded with a spoon handle.  Pork butt is the traditional player in pulled pork, in fact.  But, this particular roast is slowly braised in a mixture of dark beer and caramelized onion.  Bay and cinnamon lend it sweet, woodsiness (they are leaves and bark, after all).

There is a bit more story to it than that, but it’s a story I can’t find the words for right now.  So, I’m leaving you with just the pork.  Speaking for myself, though, were I left with “just” this pork, I wouldn’t be disappointed in the least!

Pork Braised with Beer and Cinnamon (serves 4)

  • 2 1/2 lbs. pork butt roast
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 1/2 pints of dark beer
  1. Preheat your oven to 300F.  Sprinkle your pork roast generously with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium high heat.  When the butter is foaming, add the pork.  Brown well on all sides, then transfer the pork to a plate.  Turn the heat down to medium and add the onions.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are softened and brown, about 7-10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks. Then stir in the beer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot as you stir.  Add the pork back to the pot along with any juices that have accumulated on the plate.  Cover tightly and put the roast in the oven.
  4. Bake in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, flipping the meat over halfway through.  Then, remove the cover and cook another 30 minutes, until the meat is completely tender and pulls apart easily with a fork and the sauce is somewhat thickened.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to sit rest for 5-10 minutes.  Then, serve warm over soft polenta or mashed potatoes.
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20 Responses to Pork braised with beer and cinnamon

  1. vintagejenta says:

    Just made pork butt a few weeks ago with apples, beer, and a splash of apple cider vinegar. I was out of onions. With sauerkraut it made the most amazing pulled pork sandwiches.

  2. It sounds delicious and I like the idea of serving it with polenta!

  3. Jean-François says:

    Sounds great, and the sweetness in the polenta must balance it nicely.

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Yeah, they were great together. Of course, I’m sure you wouldn’t go wrong with mashed potatoes or roasted vegetables either.

  4. m&m says:

    Love braised meats over polenta, it looks wonderful!!

  5. Karista says:

    This is my kind of dish! I flagged this post when it came through my email…the title of this recipe made my mouth water and I couldn’t wait to read. Excellent recipe and I’m absolutely adding this one to my recipe list. :)

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Awesome! Just wait for how much your mouth will water when you smell it braising away in your kitchen… :)

  6. Tricia says:

    What kind of dark beer? My current pantry includes Newcastle brown ale, and Guinness. Would one of those suffice, or do I need something else?

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      I think either of those would work wonderfully! The Newcastle would be closer to what I used, which was a Harpoon brown ale.

  7. Reads like another yummy recipe.

  8. Tricia says:

    Oh my. I made this tonight. It was yummy. And rich. And easy. I served it with polenta, and was in bliss while eating. My daughter loved it too. I wrote about it on my blog (I’m a newbie at this, hope I did the reference right – http://triciaskitchenandbeyond.blogspot.com/2012/04/blog-post_15.html). I highly recommend everyone, everywhere, try this :)

  9. Brennan says:

    I’ve been following your blog for a while now and wanted to say I love all the dishes you’ve come up with!

    I was just wondering if you had any tips for adapting whatyou’ve done here for a slow cooker…I don’t have a dutch oven that’s why.

    Thanks for your help!

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Hi Brennan, I hear you! I didn’t have a Dutch Oven for ages. It should be fairly easy to do this in the slow cooker. I would still sautee the onions and brown the meat, then put them and all the other ingredients in the slow cooker. It should work either doing the super slow setting (cook for like 8 hours) or a faster one. I haven’t tried it, so I can’t be 100% sure, but I think it would turn out really well either way.

      • Brennan says:

        Awesome! I’m still new to cooking (trying to balance it with senior year of college!) but I’m glad I could do some of your recipes.
        Thanks so much!

  10. […] hike” – Beer and cinnamon braised pork with caraway creme fraiche porridge and horseradish meringue.  This thought process was a bit […]

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