RISE & SHINE KAUT43 OKC
Again I have been enticed by the kitchen antics and incredible creations of Chef John from FoodWishes.com, and his take on a delicious Agrodolce.
It’s been cold, and I don’t know about you, but I am officially sick of winter… but I’m not so sure I’m sick of the hearty stick to your ribs kind of meals. So while trying to decide what I was hungry for, or rather what to make for a client, I remember chef John had a wonderful sounding recipe for a pork agrodolce…. Or an Italian style “Sweet and Sour Pork.” Agro: Sour and Dolce: Sweet… get it?
I’ve had a version of agrodolce utilizing beef-cheeks, but had never thought about trying it with pork. The result…amazing, and tying it in with my creamy polenta really sent everyone’s taste buds dancing and cured this crave on a cold winter’s night.
So let's get to it!
Pork Agrodolce with Creamy Polenta: serves 4-6
2 1/2 - 3 pounds pork shoulder/pork butt, trimmed and cut into 3” pieces
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons anchovy paste (or 2-3 anchovy fillets mashed)
1/3 cup aged balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar (or regular white vinegar)
1/4 cup honey
3-4 large fresh garlic cloves, smashed and minced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 tablespoon In The Kitchen With Scotty “Cook’s Line Seasoning” ( or your own salt and black pepper to taste)
1 quart (4 cups) unsalted chicken stock
1 cup Medium ground cornmeal (Polenta)
1 teaspoon In The Kitchen With Scotty “Cook’s Line Seasoning” (or salt and black pepper to taste but be mindful the cheese will be salty too)
1/2 cup ++ Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (may use Parmesan or Romano)
Preheat your oven to convection roast at 325 degrees. Oil the bottom and sides of a casserole or high sided dish with olive oil.
If you are purchasing a boneless pork butt/Boston butt/pork shoulder roast, trim off any excess fat. Another good option is using “Boneless Pork Ribs” should a roast not be in the budget or available. Cut into 3” chunks and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl add your tomato paste, anchovy paste, red chili flakes, garlic, and rosemary. To that add the honey and mix well into a nice thick slurry. Pour in the two kinds of vinegar along with the Cook’s Line Seasoning and give the entire concoction a good mix until everything is combined. Taste for any additional seasoning and add. What you can probably surmise, especially if you are from the South, is that you have mostly made a type of barbecue sauce (minus the smokey aspect).
Add the pork chunks to the sauce and coat evenly. Add the coated pork, along with the sauce, to the casserole dish mindful not to crowd the pork in too tightly. Place the dish into your oven uncovered and roast for 1 1/2-2 hours. Halfway through the cooking (set a timer) carefully turn the pork chunks over. The idea is to get a nice caramelization or char, on the pork pieces. Cook until fork tender and the “jus” in the pan has reduced to a thickened sauce.
Once your agrodolce has cooked (fork tender) and removed from the oven (and covered), begin working on the creamy polenta.
In a medium-sized sauce pot bring the chicken stock to a boil after adding in the Cooks Line Seasoning. If not using Cooks Line add a nice pinch of kosher salt to cook your polenta. Once boiling add in the dry polenta. Reduce the heat and stir every once and awhile while cooking on medium. Watch those burps, so the hot cooked corn polenta doesn’t splatter on you! That hurts!
Once smooth, cooked, and creamy (about 10-12 minutes), remove from the heat and add the 1/2 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Stir in for extra richness and flavor. Taste for any additional seasoning and add if desired.
Spoon in a good serving of the polenta to individual plates and top with the agrodolce. You may also serve it “family style” with a large dish of polenta and all of the agrodolce on top. Spoon over any extra pan sauce from the agrodolce (with our without any excess pork fat) and garnish with additional grated cheese. Serve right away and enjoy!