November 2023

Fennel-Rubber Pork Shoulder With Creamy White Beans + Herb Oil


For the pork shoulder
1 tbsp fennel seeds
½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 skin-on, boneless pork shoulder, 3 to 4 lbs
3 to 4 tsp kosher salt (1 teaspoon per lb of meat)
freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water
flaky salt, for serving

For the herb oil

½ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves (torn, if large)
½ cup roughly chopped, loosely packed fresh cilantro (both leaves and tender stems)
½ cup roughly chopped fresh chives
½ cup olive oil
Generous squeeze of lemon juice
kosher salt

for serving, A Pot of Beans
1 lb of gigante or royal corona white beans
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 large yellow onion, peeled and halved, or some leek tops, or a few peeled and halved shallots
1 celery stalk with its leaves, cut in half
6 cloves garlic, smashed with a back of the knife, skins discarded
thyme, rosemary, and parsley sprigs, tied in a bundle with kitchen twine (optional)
olive oil


Make the beans. In a large Dutch oven or stockpot, add the beans and the salt and cover them with about two inches of water and soak overnight or for six to eight hours. When your ready to cook the beans, do not drain them. Add the onions, celery, garlic, and herbs (if using) to the pot of beans. Add more water if needed to make sure the beans are still covered by about two inches and drizzle with w good glug or two of olive oil. Bring the pot of beans to a boil and then turn down the heat to barely a simmer. Skim off any grit and cook until the beans are creamy and tender, adding boiling water along the way, if needed, to make sure your beans stay submerged. This can take anywhere from one to two hours. Taste your beans along the way; some types of beans take longer than others. When they are creamy and make you sigh with joy when you bite into a small handful, they are done. Remove the aromatics, salt to taste, and set aside or refrigerate until ready to serve with the pork. Pound the fennel seeds into a coarse powder with a mortar and pestle, or alternatively, finely chop fennel and toss it in a bowl with the red pepper flakes. Season the pork with the salt and a generous amount of black pepper and the fennel and red pepper mixture, pressing it into the meat. If you can do this the day before and refrigerate the pork uncovered overnight, even better; regardless, allow the pork to come to room temperature before roasting, about one hour. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the pork in a Dutch oven, fat side up. Pour your liquid of choice around the meat to keep the bottom from scorching. Cover the pot and roast until the meat is very tender and easily falls apart, three to four hours, checking on occasion to make sure the bottom isn’t drying out and adding a bit of liquid if needed. Meanwhile, make the herb oil: in a food processor, combine the basil, cilantro, and chives and pulse together until finely chopped. Add the olive oil and pulse again until the mixture is silky and emulsified. Transfer to a small bowl, stir in the lemon juice and kosher salt to taste, and set aside. Right before serving, turn the oven to broil. Uncover the pork and cook until the fat on top is golden and crispy, two to three minutes, watching to make sure it doesn’t scorch. Remove from the oven and slice or gently pull the meat apart into large pieces. Arrange some of the beans on a platter, add pieces of the pork on top, and drizzle with some of the juice that has accumulated in the bottom of the pot. Swirl about a third of the herb oil over the top the pork and beans and season with flaky salt. Pass the remaining oil at the table so your friends can spoon more over their own portion.

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