Pork Estofado with Plantains and Pearl Onions

Serves 4-6
Thomas Sixsmith
Pairs well with:
Merlot, Napa Valley

Cakebread Cellars chef Tom Sixsmith and his wife's home recipe of flavorful home cooking. It pairs well with our Cakebread Cellars Merlot, showing its black fruit with the anise. A comfort food to have anytime of the year.


3 lbs. boneless pork shoulder, cut in 2 inch cubes
1 ½ c. light soy sauce
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

¾ c. sugar
1 ½ c. rice wine vinegar
6 T. canola oil
2 bay leaves
½ piece star anise
8 cloves garlic, peeled
16 pearl onions, peeled
8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, cut in half

2 ripe plantains, peeled and sliced lengthwise
3 T. vegetable oil


Pour ½ cup of the soy sauce into a large nonreactive bowl and add the pepper. Add the pork shoulder and turn to coat them in the soy sauce. Cover, refrigerate for one hour, or, if possible, marinate overnight.

Place the sugar in a saucepan pan with 2 tablespoons of water. Place the pan over medium-high heat and cook, gently swirling the pan until the sugar has melted. Continue cooking until the sugar syrup turns a deep amber color. Keep an eye on it as it can go from caramel to being burnt very quickly. Remove from the heat and slowly add the vinegar to the caramel. The vinegar will boil and release a lot of steam as it is added to the pan. Carefully stir to avoid getting burned by the steam or the hot caramel. Swirl and stir to combine. Set aside.

Remove the pork from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. Remove the meat from the marinade, reserving the marinade. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the oil and the sauté the pork. Sear in batches until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Return all the pork to pan along with the sugar-vinegar mixture, the reserved marinade, star anise, bay leaf and the remaining 1 cup soy sauce. Add enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 2 hours or until the pork is tender and falling apart. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside, then raise the heat and reduce the braising liquid by half, about 20 minutes. After the first 5 minutes, add the garlic, pearl onions and shiitake to the pan.

While the sauce is reducing, sauté the plantains in a nonstick pan with 3 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium heat. Cook until softened and lightly browned on both sides. Remove from the pan and cut into 2 inch pieces. When the sauce has thickened, return the pork shoulder and the plantains to the pan and heat through. Serve with steamed rice.

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