Luella’s coca-cola braised pork shoulder recipe

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This dish has been a signature dish for Luella since it opened. Ben has tried to pull it from the menu a few times, but each time enough customers have asked that he has had to put it back on. Like a band that has a song fly to the top of the charts but has long since written new material, sometimes chefs can’t escape certain dishes.

  • Yield: 12 Servings, with leftovers


For Pork
  • 8 pounds boneless pork shoulder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Oil, for searing
  • 2 liters regular Coca-Cola
  • 1 gallon low-sodium chicken stock or broth
For White Bean Puree
  • 3 cups dried cannellini beans (about 1½ pounds)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • White pepper, to taste
For Pickled Red Onions
  • 1 large red onion (about 12 ounces), sliced lengthwise about 1⁄4” thick
  • 1½ cups red wine vinegar
  • 1⁄4 cup sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup julienned mint leaves, to complete
How to Make It
    For Pork
  1. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Drizzle oil onto the bottom of a deep pan to barely cover; then set the pan over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the meat and sear on all sides until golden brown, just a few minutes per side. Remove the pork from the pan and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Pour the Coca-Cola into the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil, scraping up any stuck bits of meat from the bottom of the pan, until the liquid is reduced to about 3 cups, about 25 minutes. Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil again, and cook until liquid reduces by about a quarter, about 10 minutes. Carefully place the meat into the liquid, cover, and bake for about 2 hours, or until the meat falls apart easily. Remove the meat from the oven and let it rest, still covered and in its liquid, for at least 1 hour. If making ahead of time, cool and refrigerate overnight.
  3. To finish the meat, remove from the liquid (save the liquid in the pot), and remove and discard any visible fat that settles on the top. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bring the pot of liquid to a boil on the stove; then return the meat to the pot. Bake, uncovered, until the meat is warmed through, about 1 hour. Remove the meat from the pan and let rest 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, bring the sauce (braising liquid) to a hard simmer and cook until it reduces to a light syrup (slightly thinner than maple syrup), approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. For White Bean Purée
  5. Soak the beans in water overnight. Drain; then place the beans in a medium saucepan. Cover with water, add a splash of olive oil, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until very soft, about 1 hour, adding more warm water as needed. Drain the beans, reserving some of the cooking liquid, and purée in a food processor until smooth, adding enough olive oil (and some of the cooking liquid) until the beans have a mashed potato–like consistency; season with salt and white pepper to taste. Set aside. (The purée can be made up to a day ahead. Before serving, rewarm over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. If made ahead and refrigerated, you may need to adjust the consistency with a little more oil.)
  6. For Pickled Red Onions
  7. Combine the onions, vinegar, and sugar in a nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Adjust flavor with more vinegar or sugar as desired; then refrigerate until chilled. (The onions can be made up to a week ahead.)
  8. To Complete
  9. Spoon warm White Bean Purée onto a plate; top with Pork and drizzle with sauce. Drain the Pickled Red Onions and combine with mint; use to garnish the Pork. Serve immediately.

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