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Braised Pork Shoulder with Cheesy Fontina Grits

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Braised Pork Shoulder served over fontina grits is the cozy comfort in a bowl. Slowly braised pork nestled into creamy cheesy grits, topped with red wine pan juice gravy, pickled red onions and fresh minced parsley. It doesn't any cozier than this.
Course Mains & Entrees
Cuisine American-Italian
Keyword braised, cornmeal, fontina cheese, grits, pork, pork shoulder
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs 36 mins
Additional Time 15 mins
Total Time 4 hrs 16 mins
Servings 8 servings
Calories 531
Author Laurie McNamara



  • 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil ro bacon fat plus more as needed
  • 1 large yellow onion roughly chopped
  • 3 carrots roughly chopped
  • 3 celery stalks and any leafy green parts, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 head garlic halved
  • 1 bunch parsley stems and leaves
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 bay leaves


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup coarse corn grits or polenta
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated fontina cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper




  • Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add in the bacon fat or olive oil. And also preheat your oven to 325°.
  • Meanwhile; divide the pork shoulder into 8 equal portions and pat dry with paper towel.
  • Season all sides of the pork generously with kosher salt and coarse black pepper.
  • Once the pot and oil are hot, work in batches, sear the pork for 3 minutes on all sides or until each side has formed a good crust and is a deep golden color. Once seared, remove the pork to a large, clean platter and repeat with remaining pork, adding more oil or bacon fat if needed. This whole process should take about 36 minutes.
  • To the Dutch oven, add in the roughly chopped carrots, onion and celery. Stir and cook. Once they start browining, add in the tomato paste, stir and cook for one minute.
  • Deglaze the pan by pouring in the red wine, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the Dutch oven. Reduce until 1/4 to 1/2 cup is left.
  • Stir in the flour and add the parsley and garlic halves.
  • Nestle the browned pork pieces into the vegetables and pour in about two cups of beef broth. The liquids should not cover the pork, just close to the top leaving the pork exposed. Add in the parsley and bay leaf before covering. Place the whole Dutch oven in your preheated oven and braise for 2-1/2 to three hours.
  • Once braised, carefully remove the pot from the oven. Using tongs, remove and transfer the pork to a platter.
  • Carefully pour the sauce and vegetables through a mesh strainer set over a large bowl. Press on the vegetables to extract all the liquids. Discard the vegetables and pour the sauce back into the Dutch oven. Return the pork (don't cover it in sauce just yet) taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings to your preference.
  • Cover and keep it all warm in a 200° oven while you prep the grits.


  • Measure out polenta/grits and add the 3/4 teaspoon of salt to the same measuring cup.
  • In a medium sauce pan, bring up milk and chicken broth to a boil. Watch carefully this happens quickly. Whisk in the polenta/grits and keep whisking until the corn grits have absorbed all of the liquids. Reducing heat as necessary.
  • Once the liquids have been absorbed add in the grated Fontina and coarse black pepper. Stir until smooth.
  • Scoop the grits into 4 serving bowls. Place a piece of the braised pork in the center of the Fontina grits and drizzle with some of the sauce. Top with minced parsley and pickled red onions and serve!
  • These grits will serve 4. Double if serving 8 (see note below)


If serving 8 then make a double batch of the cheesy grits. Otherwise I make a fresh batch when reheating leftovers.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 531kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 60g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 152mg | Sodium: 622mg | Potassium: 1337mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 4738IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 163mg | Iron: 3mg