Braised Pork with Fuyu Persimmons

My brother has always teased me about how much fruit I eat.  When we were living together, and we would go to the market to pick up our weekly groceries, his basket was always filled with chicken, popsicles and Diet Coke, and mine was filled with nothing but “GD fruit”, as he called it (if you don’t know what GD stands for, think of it as another version of gosh darn).  I love to eat fruit in just about anything.  And I have no shame about cooking up savory recipes that incorporate fruit either.

Persimmons were never a fruit that I was very familiar with.  So when I began receiving them in my box last year I was at a loss of what to do with them.  Of course there is always the option of eating them raw, but after a few bites I wasn’t totally impressed.  So I began to search for delicious and nutritious recipes that would utilize this fruit in a way in which I found appetizing.

I immediately came upon tons of baked goods and desserts that looked divine.  But at the time I was pregnant with Harper and was on a strict diet due to my gestational diabetes.  So no sweets for me!  I needed dishes that were high in protein and fiber.  Lucky for me, this recipe popped up while searching epicurious and I couldn’t wait to get started.

Ingredients

2 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

3/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 celery rib, chopped

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons coriander

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

2 cups water

1 14.5-oz can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped

1 1/2 pounds firm-ripe fuyu persimmons, peeled, seeded if necessary, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges

1/2 cup chopped scallion greens

Preparation

Put oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 350 degree F.

Pat pork dry with paper towels, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wide 5-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown pork, turning, about 5 minutes, transferring to a bowl when browned.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot.  Add onion, bell paper, and celery and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic, cumin, coriander, turmeric and cook, stirring, 1 minute.  Add pork with any juices accumulated in bowl,water, and tomatoes and bring to a simmer.

Cover pot, then transfer to oven and braise pork until very tender, about 1 3/4 hours.

Scatter persimmons over pork and braise in oven, partially covered, 10 minutes more.  Stir in scallion greens and salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe slightly adapted from Gourmet Magazine via epicurious.com

This dish yields enough for 6 servings.  The recipe suggests to serve it over a bed of rice, which I normally do, but it seems as though this time I was fresh out.  So I cooked up some whole wheat couscous instead and I have to say, I preferred it better than the rice.  For extra greenery, I also added some steamed broccoli on the side.  It made for a complete meal.

If you were sitting at the table with me while I was eating my meal you may have thought I had lost my mind.  I talked to myself throughout the entire dinner.  The flavors are so divine, I couldn’t help but comment on how much I was enjoying myself.  The seasonings in the pork paired with the sweetness of the persimmons is delightful.  The meat is so tender and juicy, its falling apart on your fork.  I like to grab a bit of each component and then marry them together with each bite.  The combination is magical.

It seems like I have been on a braised pork kick lately.  But like my never ending baked goods, it must be the time of year.  This recipe is warming to the soul and satisfying to the stomach.  And a great way to incorporate persimmons into a savory dish.

 

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