Braised Pork with White Beans and Pickled Red Onion

The slow cooker is a wonderful cooking tool. So is the pressure cooker. This dish is very simple to make, and you can put more or less effort into it, depending on your preferences and the time available to you. If you want to go the slow route, which will certainly yield the best results, make sure you save this dish for the weekend. If you have a pressure cooker, you can probably make this on a weeknight, although dinner might be kinda late.

Serves: 4-6

  • 1 lb dried white beans
  • 1/2 bone-in pork shoulder
  • bundle of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1-2 cups water or chicken stock
  • 4-5 large cloves garlic
  • 1 red onion
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp suger
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 4-6 piquin chilies, ground (or 1 tsp hot red pepper flakes)

Low and Slow cooking method:

Soak 1 lb dried white beans over night in 6-8 cups water, with a few large pinches of salt. Cook the pork shoulder first. Put  a 1/2 bone-in pork shoulderbundle of thyme, 4-5 cloves garlic, and 1-2 cups water or chicken stock (enough to half-cover the pork) in the slow cooker, and cook on low while you sleep. You can also set a timer for 6 hours, and cook this over night, or you can wake up early and start it in the morning. Once the pork is done, set it aside to cool, but save the braising liquid to cook the beans in. Discard the bean soaking water and rinse the beans. Toss them into the slow cooker along with the pork braising liquid. Add enough water to ensure the beans are covered by 1/2 inch (which might be unnecessary). Cook the beans for 2-3 hours, until they are tender. While the beans are cooking, and the pork is cool enough to handle, break the pork into small pieces by hand, about 1 square inch, and save for dinner. Mix 1/2 cup vinegar (I used white balsamic, but use what you like), 1/2 cup water, and 1 tsp sugar in a sauce pan, and bring to a simmer. While that is heating, chop 1 red onion into quarters and slice into ~2mm quarter-slices. When the pickling liquid is simmering, remove from the heat and add the sliced onions. When the pickling liquid has cooled to room temperature, your pickled onions will be done. When the beans are done, drain them, reserving the cooking liquid. When you are ready to serve, heat the pork and beans in separate sauce pans, with a little bit of the cooking liquid, to ensure they are nice and moist. Add the beans, pork, pickled onion, 1/2 cup chopped parsley, and 4-6 piquin chilies, ground (or 1 tsp hot red pepper flakes), along with a big pinch of salt (this is the first time you are seasoning, so this is very important!)  to a bowl, and very gently mix everything together. Serve in a large bowl, with a drizzle of olive oil, and maybe a slice of crusty bread.

Quick cooking method (required a pressure cooker):

If you want to get this done quickly, cut the pork into a few large pieces, throw it into a pressure cooker with the thyme, bay leaves, and water/stock, and cook on high for ~45-50 minutes. Once the pork is done, cook the dried beans in the same liquid, for about 15 minutes. If you don’t want to mess with dried beans, feel free to use canned beans, just rinse them really well, and heat them in a little bit of the cooking liquid. Prep, reheat, mix and serve as described above.

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4 thoughts on “Braised Pork with White Beans and Pickled Red Onion

  1. Karen says:

    This recipe sounds great! The beans must have such a nice flavor being cooked in the pork broth.

  2. The Omnivore says:

    This sounds incredible! Because I’m cooking for a vegetarian, I can’t make my beans in pork liquid (unfortunately!) but you did inspire me to make a delicious mess of beans in my slow cooker! I used lots and lots of onions and garlic and water but next time I’ll cook them in a flavorful broth.

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