There are several steps to prepare the shredded confit pork in this recipe, but the tender meat makes for an impressive dish. You won’t need many sides to complete the meal. I serve a simple rosemary–brown butter applesauce, wilted escarole, and chicharrones—a Latin favorite.
• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
• 4 servings shredded confit pork cubes
• 8 cups vegetable oil
• 1/4 cup rosemary–brown butter applesauce
• 1 1/2 cups Catalán escarole
• 1 tablespoon smoked paprika oil
• 4 chicharrones
Shredded Confit Pork Cubes
Yields 4 servings
• 2 (2-pound) pork shanks
• Vegetable oil, to cover
• 6 sheets gelatin
• 2 cups chicken stock
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
To make shredded confit pork cubes: Preheat oven to 250°F. Using a filet knife, cut the bones from the shanks. Place meat in a deep pan and cover with oil. Cover pan tightly with two layers of aluminum foil. Place in the oven to cook, 3 hours and 15 minutes. Remove the shanks from the oven and take them out of the oil. Discard the oil.
Increase oven temperature to 300°F. Place shanks on a roasting rack on a sheet tray. Cook 20 minutes. Remove shanks from oven and shred meat into a bowl.
Bloom gelatin in ice water. Squeeze out excess water. In a saucepan over low heat, heat chicken stock and season with salt. Add gelatin to dissolve. Add stock to shredded meat. Mix well. Press into a 3-inch-by-12-inch-by-3-inch mold. Place a weight on top of the meat and refrigerate to set, 8 hours. Unmold meat and cut into four 2-inch cubes, discarding the edges.
Rosemary–Brown Butter Applesauce
Yields 3/4 cup
• 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped
• 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 1/4 cup plus 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
• 2 tablespoons apple cider
• 2 tablespoons rosemary leaves
To make rosemary–brown butter applesauce: In a saucepan over low heat, sweat apples with sugar and 1/2 tablespoon butter until soft.
In a separate saucepan over medium heat, melt 1/4 cup butter and cook until it browns. Add browned butter, apple cider, and rosemary to apple mixture. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until apples are very tender . Pour the mixture into a food processor and puree until smooth. Chill. Rosemary–brown butter applesauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
Yields 1 1/2 cups
• 1 cup pine nuts
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
• Kosher salt, to taste
• 3 shallots, brunoised
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 cup dried black currants
• 1 head escarole, cut into a chiffonade
• 1 guindilla chile, cut into a chiffonade
To make Catalán escarole: In a sauté pan over medium heat, toss pine nuts to toast. Add 1 tablespoon butter and a sprinkle of salt. Continue to toss until butter has melted and coated the nuts.
In a saucepan over low heat, sweat shallots and garlic in vegetable oil until translucent. Add pine nuts and currants and cook over low heat 1 minute. Turn the heat up to high and add escarole and guindillas and season with salt. Stir escarole until it starts to wilt. Add 2 tablespoons butter and toss until melted. Use immediately.
Yields 4 chicharrones
• 16 cups water
• 1⁄2 cup kosher salt
• 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
• 1/2 pound pork skin
To make chicharrones: In a bowl, combine water, salt, and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Place pork skin in the mixture and refrigerate overnight. Remove the skin from the mixture and place in a pan on a roasting rack. Let pork skin dry at room temperature for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 225ºF. Bake pork skin for 6 hours. Cut into 4 equal pieces.
Putting it all together: Preheat oven to 350°F. Dredge shredded confit pork cubes in flour. In a fryer or deep, heavy-bottomed 4-quart pan, heat vegetable oil to 340°F. Fry cubes until golden brown. Drain cubes, then bake 5 minutes until heated.
In a saucepan over medium heat, heat rosemary–brown butter applesauce.
On each of 4 plates, place a pile of the escarole in one corner. Using 1/4 cup rosemary–brown butter applesauce, streak a line in the opposite corner. Place a shredded confit pork cube in another corner and top with a chicharrone. Drizzle paprika oil in the remaining corner.
Linda Shockley, based in New York City, takes delight in the option of dining at a top chef’s signature restaurant or sampling the eats at a Hell’s Kitchen street fair.
For the article, Flavor First: Jose Garces, click here.