Friday, February 8, 2019

Pork Agrodolce – Treat Your Meat to Some Sour and Sweet

"Agrodolce” is a very generic Italian term for any type of sweet and sour condiment, and while it’s used on all sorts of things, it really shines, both literally and figuratively, when used for braising chunks of succulent pork shoulder. This really was a thoroughly enjoyable, soul-warming dish of comfort food, which is why I was so amused by how much it made me think of summer cooking.

I’m not sure if Italians “barbecue,” like we do here in the States, but this sauce very much reminded me of something we’d brush on a rack of ribs while sipping a cold beer. So, don’t be surprised if you see something like that happen once the weather warms up. In fact, a little touch of smokiness was maybe the only thing this dish was lacking, and we could have taken care of that with a little smoked paprika. Next time.

As I mention in the clip, once the meat is tender, and ready to serve, you’re going to have to decide whether to skim the fat. I’ll leave that decision to you and your medical team, but if you do, here are a few tips. It’s hard to skim rendered fat while it’s still in the baking dish, so I usually remove the meat, and pour the sauce into a measuring cup, or small saucepan. That way, we have much less surface area, and it’ll be way easier to spoon off the top. Also, if you make this ahead of time, and chill it overnight, the fat will harden, and you can easily remove it from the surface.

Either way, this pork agrodolce is amazing served on rice, pasta, polenta, or as I teased in the video, a big pile of ricotta mashed potatoes. In fact, I enjoyed those so much that if, and when, I adapt this sauce to the summer grill, I’m still going to use that as a side. But, no matter how you serve it, I really hope you give this it a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 large portions Pork Agrodolce:
3 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 3-inch chunks
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
1 or 2 anchovy fillets mashed
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup green onions
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

- Roast at 325 F. for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until very tender.

Note: While roasting, you can add a splash of water to the baking dish if things are drying out, and/or you can cook this covered after the meat has had time to brown. As long as the pork gets tender, and you’re left with enough agrodolce sauce to coat the meat, you did it right.
-->

36 comments:

tiff said...

I'm lobbying to have this for dinner tomorrow night. Thanks for the new recipe!

Unknown said...

Can the anchovy paste be substituted?

retrofuturistic said...

I know this is a horrible question, but speaking as one who doesn't have three hours plus in any day to slow cook when necessary: could you do this in a crockpot? And if you could, would you brown the pork first?

Unknown said...

Hello
Question? What is causing the little bubbles in the marinade?
I saw little bubbles popping.
Thanks and as always ENJOY!

Balambér said...

Hey Chef John,

is it ok to put it in the fridge for the night, and roast it next day?

Lilyth said...

Can I marinate overnight?

TRK said...

Making this tonight! Thanks, Chef John!!

Zack said...

That looks incredible! Is there a recipe for those ricotta mashed potatoes?

Unknown said...

It's in the oven - my house smells so good right now!

Bill said...

"... but if you do [decide to skim the fat], here are a few tips. It’s hard to skim rendered fat while it’s still in the baking dish, so I usually remove the meat, and pour the sauce into a measuring cup, or small saucepan."
A couple of ideas:
If it's still in the roasting pan, use a few paper towels to blot up some of the fat.
Or, if you're pouring it out, run it through your fat separator.

Jeff Aley said...

We made this tonight and served it over mashed potatoes with a side of green beans. Delicious! Our pork was done after about 2.5 hours, possibly because I cut the chunks a little smaller than Chef John did. It definitely needed more than a splash of water by that time. In fact, after removing the pork from the pan, I ended up adding 1/4 cup of hot water to make the sauce (and I skimmed almost all the fat).

It was great, and we'll make it again.

-Jeff in Northern California

ghrain22 said...

Out of curiosity, why uncovered. Normally when braising, the baking dish is tightly covered with foil. Does it promote browning, and keep the meat together a bit better, as well as reduce the non-fat portions of the sauce. Or did you just not feel like breaking out the heavy duty foil :). Not trolloin, just curious.

Lisa M said...

OOOh ya Chef, do a video on Ricotta Mashed Potatoes!

Vhisic said...

Made this for dinner tonight, followed recipe exactly. Tasted amazing served on ricotta mashed potato's too... Also wow.

Vhisic said...

Made this for dinner tonight, followed recipe exactly. Tasted amazing served on ricotta mashed potato's too... Also wow.

-Tim said...

This is by far my new favorite winter pork dish. I took the liberty of adding a rasher of smoked bacon and substituted the white vinegar (I was out) with an eight of port and an eighth of water. Thank you for this one.

Regular joe said...

A tablespoon of salt? Is that a typo?

Troy Howard said...

Welp, I just made it as stated. Well, another 30 mins will do the trick. Wish I could post a pic.

Thanks John. Looks great, smells greater.

Troy Howard said...

Oh, side note, I looked up ricotta mashed potatoe recipes... Not to many out there. Of course, Rachel Ray popped up, but I don't trust her. :-)

So it's up to you.

JBM said...

I made this tonight and it was really delish. I strained the sauce, separated the fat and reduced by half. Finished with butter. See how much you've taught us Chef John!

Dax said...

I'm making this right now. A little late to start, but you know. I'm adding a bit of smoked paprika into the sauce.

Scootsk said...

Chef, how much smoked paprika would you recommend?

Scootsk said...

Chef, how much smoked paprika would you recommend?

Ed Adams said...

Another fantastic dish. I am most curious about those potatoes. What type of potatoes did you use here? Yukon Golds? I know it really has nothing to do with the pork recipe (except it's everything).

Unknown said...

This looks delicious!! Can it be adapted for chicken?

Unknown said...

I made this tonight in an Instant Pot. Followed recipient exactly, with the exception that I added a splash of chicken stock when it went in. Cooked it on high presssure for 30 mins, with natural release. Thickened the sauce with a corn starch slurry (about 2 heaping teaspoons) and it was incredible. I did put the chunks of cooked pork on an aluminum lined 1/2 sheet pan under the broiler for 3-4 mins a side, then back in the thickened sauce. Really, really good Andrew ready in under an hour. Served with French green beans and polenta, will definitely make again.

Librariann said...

Hello Chef John! I came across your videos on Youtube this past weekend, and I have this recipe in the oven as we speak - smells amazing by the way! I really enjoy watching your videos and am looking forward to trying more recipes.

Unknown said...

I have only just discovered your blog and am loving all your recipes and videos. Keep it up...!

Unknown said...

Hi Chef. Made this dish this evening and it was fantastic. My wife had made some mashed potatoes in the slow cooker over the weekend and they paired wonderfully with the pungent flavor of the agrodolce sauce. Only caveat was that I could only get a boneless pork roast and not a shoulder--was a bit lean, but still moist and tasty. Thanks for your hard work--the clear instructions coupled with interesting meal choices make for great content.

Sally said...

Chef, do you know how long it takes AllRecipes to post you recipe? I want to make this, but I'm a visual cook who needs a printed recipe to follow. This looks amazing.

Flynnies Foodies said...

@ghrain22

I made this dish and I left it uncovered but flipped the pork more often then Chef John recommend, maybe every half hour, and basted each time.
It made an outstanding crust on the pork but the inside was still super tender.

Ed Adams said...

To Sally,

I to like a recipe to follow and here's what I started doing. I create my own by listening to Chef John's videos a few times while taking dubious notes. Bam, now I have a written recipe to follow complete with Chef J's idiosyncrasies.

Gabe said...

Can I sub pork shoulder for pork belly? How will this affect cooking time? also, can I still get crispy skin using belly if I marinade it with the sauce?

Tyler Doe said...

Made this last week. Making it again tonight. Incredible, easy, and inexpensive. Only thing I'm doing different is making twice the sauce. Mine dried up a bit much but was still excellent. A splash of water wasn't enough for me. Thanks, Chef!

rideandcook said...

Yo, Chef. I made this Saturday night with quinoa and garlic broccoli rabe (I'm battling a cold) and man was it great!! Thank you for this. I eat leftovers all week at work so I am a happy girl!

rcg said...

This is awesome and pretty easy. Just watch out that you use a TEAspoon versus TABLEspoon of red chili flakes. It was still awesome. As far a slow cooker versus baking dish; why not? I am going to use a pressure cooker next outing.