Spiced Cider Braised Pork Shank

Embracing the change of seasons, this hearty dish is sure to take the chill out of a cold winter’s night. Blackbird Farm free-range pork braised with Barden’s apple cider, served with a gratin of Schartner’s root vegetables and some sautéed kale—a perfect way to pay homage to the work of our local farmers.
December 01, 2013


Preheat oven to 325°. Season pork with salt and pepper. Heat oil in an oven-safe heavy-bottomed pot on medium-high heat and brown pork shoulder on all sides. Remove from pan. Add vegetables and garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Deglaze pot by adding red wine, scraping any browned bits. Reduce wine by half, and then stir in tomato paste. Add stock, cider, herbs and spices and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, add shoulder back to pot and cover. Place in oven and bake for 3–4 hours, until fork tender, turning occasionally.

Remove shoulder from pot and keep warm. Strain other solids through a fine-mesh sieve and discard. Defat and then return the liquid to the pot; add brown sugar and vinegar and cook down until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Serve pork sliced (or whole, if using shanks) with reduction sauce. Serves 6.

Wine Pairing: 2012 Broc Cellars “Vine Starr” Zinfandel, Sonoma County, California. This is an absolutely gorgeous Zinfandel! Not a big fruit bomb like other Zins but quite restrained and elegant with light cherry/berry flavors and a seductive bergamot element. The focused flavor and structure of this wine mesh perfectly with the spiced cider reduction on the pork.—Eric Taylor, Bottles Fine Wine, Providence

Recipe courtesy of Martin Lyons, executive chef, XO Café, Providence 


  • 3–4 pounds pork shoulder or 6 (8-ounce) pork shanks
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 4 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups apple cider
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 each whole cloves and green cardamom pods
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
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