Over on my new blog, I earmarked this dish as one I was keen to try soon from Valentine Warner’s What to Eat Now. I picked a perfect time to try it too: a chilly winter’s evening curled up on the sofa with a bowl of soft, cheesy polenta and a rich, winey braise was just what I needed.
Like many in the book, the recipe is introduced by way of it origins, which in this case was lunch in a tiny osteria serving just this dish, made with boar rather than pork shoulder, but otherwise the same recipe. I can imagine how rich and fabulous this would be with boar, but pork was a fine substitution.
This takes a couple of hours to cook on a very gentle heat, but does so quietly to itself without needing any attention so would be great in a slow cooker, or just while you get on with your life. Fry an onion, some anchovies and a stem of rosemary, add the pork, tomato puree, cinnamon, a fennel bulb, garlic, lemon juice and zest, and half a bottle of red wine. Leave for two hours on a low heat, either hob or oven. Add some stone-in black olives and cook for another half hour with the lid off, and serve with polenta.
And I’d suggest you don’t skip the gremolata (as I almost did, through sheer laziness), it gives the dish a tangy citrus lift. Another Warner winner.