Braised pork shoulder with polenta seems fancy and complicated, but requires little effort; the oven does all the work of breaking down tough pork shoulder, rendering it incredibly tender and flavourful, and a pot of creamy polenta is easier than oatmeal, coming together in under five minutes.

oooooooooPhoto by Tracey Kusiewicz

Braised Pork Shoulder with Cheesy Polenta

  • Vegetable oil, for cooking
  • 1-to-2 lb pork shoulder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 can whole plum tomatoes (398 mL)
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • ¾ cup dry cornmeal
  • ½ cup grated parmesan or aged gouda, plus extra for serving
  • 2 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 300˚F. Drizzle some oil into a Dutch oven set over medium-high heat and brown pork on all sides, sprinkling with salt and pepper.

Add tomatoes, red wine and thyme to the pan, ensuring there’s enough liquid to come about ½ to ¾ of the way up the side of the meat—if not, add a little more wine or water. Cover and braise for 3 to 4 hours, or until pork is very tender. Pull pork apart with two forks, discarding the thyme stems. If you’d like to thicken the sauce, put it on the stovetop to simmer until the liquid reduces.

In a large saucepan, bring 3 cups of water to a simmer and whisk in cornmeal along with a big pinch of salt; cook for about 3 minutes, until cornmeal thickens. Add cheese and butter and stir to melt completely. Spoon polenta into shallow bowls and top with the saucy pork. Serve topped with grated parmesan.