Rosemary Braised Pork Recipe

We had our neighbors Stéphan and Patricia over for dinner last week to celebrate their respective birthdays, and it was as much a treat for me as it was for them.

Though it is a bit more of a challenge to cook multi-course meals now that I have a child — as all Parents Who Cook will no doubt agree — it is spectacular how refreshed and energized and just plain giddy I feel when I do get to spend quality time in the kitchen.

Favoring slow-cooking recipes for dinner parties

For dinner parties I’ve always favored make-ahead, slow-cooking recipes that require little active work, so that hasn’t changed, and as I discussed in this 5-question interview on Food52 last month, I have become a master of mise en place in both my daily, and my special occasion cooking.

Because each part of the meat is alternatively exposed to dry and wet heat, the whole cut remains very moist, while also developing an irresistibly caramelized outer crust.

This means I select recipes based on their ability to be sliced up into small steps that can be executed earlier in the day, the day before, or even two days ahead. And this recipe is a fine example.

Braised pork is exceptionally flavorsome: you place it in the oven in a shallow pool of liquids (here, white wine and tomato juice, or tomato water saved from roasted tomatoes), turning the meat regularly over the span of a few hours. Because each part of the meat is alternatively exposed to dry and wet heat, this method allows the whole cut to remain very moist, while also developing an irresistibly caramelized outer crust.

Amazing braised pork, broken down into make-ahead steps

And it is an ideal recipe if you want to spread out the different steps over two or three days; in fact, it is recommended that you do.

It is spectacular how refreshed and energized I feel when I do get to spend quality time in the kitchen.

On the first day, you’ll make a simple rosemary salt to rub onto the pork, and you’ll dice the flavoring vegetables (carrots, fennel, onion, garlic). The next day, you’ll cook the meat in the oven and let it cool, so you can skim the excess fat. Later that day, or the next day, you’ll reheat the whole thing and serve it to your very appreciative guests with the gremolata you’ll have had plenty of time to prepare because you were so un-tied up in the preparation of the meat.

As for sides, you can serve braised pork with mashed potatoes or a purée of celery root, but this time I served it with my current favorite blend of roasted vegetables: zucchini, cabbage, and sweet potatoes (with garlic, ground cumin, and olive oil), a mix I once serendipitously prepared based on what was left in the vegetable drawer, but which I’ve now purposely recreated a few times, so tasty it was.

Join the conversation!

Is braising a technique you like to practice with meat? And what’s your favorite “sliceable” recipe to prepare in installments for dinner parties?

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Rosemary Braised Pork Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Total Time: 5 hours, 20 minutes

Serves 6 to 8.

Rosemary Braised Pork Recipe


  • the leaves from 3 small sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped (about 1 tablespoon chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
  • a 2.2-kilo (5-pound) piece of braise-friendly, bone-in pork (such as the shoulder or spare rib) from a sustainable source
  • 140 grams (5 ounces) carrots (2 small), diced
  • 140 grams (5 ounces) fennel (1/2 small), diced
  • 140 grams (5 ounces) yellow onion (1/2 small), diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup tomato juice or vegetable stock
  • gremolata, for serving


  1. The night before (or 2 days before), combine the chopped rosemary and salt in a small bowl, and rub this rosemary salt on the pork on all sides. Wrap the meat tightly and refrigerate until the next day. You can dice the vegetables and chop the garlic at this point if you want to; place in an airtight conatiner and refrigerate.
  2. In the morning (or the day before), place the meat in a roasting pan large enough to accommodate it comfortably. Sprinkle the carrots, fennel, onion, and garlic around the meat. Pour in the white wine, tomato juice, and water as needed to come up to about 1/4 of the meat.
  3. Place in the cold oven and turn it on to 180°C (360°F). Cook for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, flipping the meat every 45 minutes or so, until well browned and fork-tender.
  4. Remove the meat from the pan, pour most of the cooking juices (without the vegetables) into a bowl, and return the meat to the pan. Let everything cool to room temperature, and place the bowl and pan, covered, in the refrigerator.
  5. About 1 1/2 hours before dinner, remove the bowl and pan from the refrigerator. Skim the fat from the bowl of cooking juices (keep this good fat and use it to fry eggs or roast vegetables) and let the meat come up to room temperature, about 1 hour.
  6. Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F). Scoop the remaining, gelled cooking juices into the pan. Return the pan to the oven to reheat, about 20 minutes, carve, and serve with the cooking juices and a sprinkling of gremolata.

This post was first published in September 2013 and updated in January 2016.

  • I love this “sliceable” dish! Though I work full time, I still love my elaborate meal after work. Having a recipe that i can prepare the day beforehand or in the morning is really important. I just posted about slow cooked pork al pastor on my blog. Let me know what you think!

    • This is the first time I hear about pork al pastor. It looks great, Nicole, thank you for the link to your recipe!

  • Traveling Yankee

    Are you simply serving the roast at room temp? If so, suggestions for eaters who like the roast hot?

    • The meat is reheated in the oven before serving. I’ve included the instructions at the end of the recipe.

  • Oh that looks delicious.
    I love these “make ahead in instalements” dishes. Our latest favourite is Braised Beef Short Ribs with Beer (works equally well with red wine), which I start in the pressure cooker and finish off on the oven. Have not got around to post the recipe yet, but basically in involves 3 days:
    Day 1 – cook the ribs on a bed of onion slices and carrots, on slow heat to render the fat, 45mn. Chill overnight.
    Day 2 – remove the top layer of fat, add aromatics and beer to the meat and fat-free stock. Cook for another 45mn.Chill overnight (or continue the same day, as in day 3!)
    Day 3 – Transfer meat and sauce in a baking dish, cook in the oven for 1h, basting the meat every 15mn, so the ribs take on a shiny glaze and the sauce reduces to a thin syrupy texture.
    Serve with boiled potatoes and sauerkraut as I did, but it goes well with pasta, rice, and any vegies you have on hand! Voila.

    • That sounds really good, Voahangy, I’m making a note of it.

  • Rachel

    This sounds brilliant. I’m definitely going to have to try this!

    • I hope you enjoy it when you do!

  • Hi Clotilde! This is my kind of party, too! Whenever we have dinner parties or luncheons I am usually the only one that cooks, so planning and prepping ahead of time is crucial.

    Slicing and dicing veggies can be done 1-2 days ahead. Making sauces and dips can also be done 1-2 days ahead. As a matter of fact, I always keep little Ziplock Snack Bags of minced garlic and ginger in the freezer! At my last party I served Deviled Eggs as an appetizer. After boiling the eggs and cutting them in half, I stored the whites in a baking dish, and the yolks in a large reasealable plastic bag. With the egg yolks I mixed mayo, yellow mustard and ground pepper, and kneaded it until smooth. The next day I snipped off a corner of the bag and piped the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites.

    • Good tip on the deviled eggs, Olga, thank you! I love them but don’t make them often as I’m always concerned my hard-boiled eggs won’t peel neatly — they seldom do, which doesn’t matter in most circumstances, but kind of ruins deviled eggs. What’s your trick?

  • Annette

    Re hard-boiled eggs: they will peel beautifully if you prepare them in a pressure cooker. I first read about this on Laura P’s “hip pressure cooking” site, and I’ve been preparing hard-boiled eggs this way ever since. (Btw, they also taste very nice with tapenade.)
    Re Voahangy’s comment: have you had any luck finding short ribs in France? If so, what do you order at the butcher’s?

    • Oh, I’ve never heard of cooking eggs in the pressure cooker, I need to look into that method!

      And funny you should ask about short ribs in France, as I just researched it this morning. Beef cuts rarely have one-for-one equivalents between France and the US — the butchering style is just different — my understanding is that the closest would be plat-de-côtes. This is untested, though!

  • MiSchelle

    I have a nice flock of chickens and as a result I have a lot of experience with boiled eggs. My method is to add eggs to cold water, bring to a boil, then take off heat and cover for 12 minutes. This guarantees tender yolks without the gray/green ring. After 12 minutes, drain the water, crack the eggs and then run cold water into the pan until the eggs are cool enough to handle. The shells peel right off!

    • You know, my method is similar (though I plunge the eggs in an ice bath rather than running cold water into the pan) but I get mixed results, and sometimes eggs from the same carton react differently. It drives me crazy!

  • We recently started braising our fillets in the oven (after a quick browning stovetop sear.) This technique has all but obviated the use of an outside grill for incredibly flavorful high quality steak. It is partiuclarly a useful method for cold weather months when no one wants to be tending the fire of a grill and endure the exposure of an unpleasant climate. Thanks for sharing this wonderful idea.

    • That sounds really good, Dan. Would you walk us through your method?

      • Absolutely. Thank you for your interest. I will plan a feature on Platter Talk within the next few weeks on this delicious method of searing and then braising filet mignon to a finish of delectable perfection.

  • My mother always prepares stews the day before – I remember as a child being tantalised, if not tormented, by the wonderful savoury smells creeping up the stairs after I’d gone to bed! She likes to refrigerate them overnight and then pick off most of the solidified fat. And they do taste better, I think.

    I often prepare pasta bakes in advance, in the morning, say, and then bake them that evening. And, of course, I have my slow cooker, which is wonderful!

    Right now I’ve been tasked with bringing the sweet course to a party to celebrate my father’s 90th birthday next month, and am planning to take some fruit fools – rhubarb and blackberry-and-apple, and perhaps a fresh fruit salad. I have already prepared both the rhubarb (yuck, but other people like it!) and the blackberry-and-apple to the compote stage, and will finish it off the day before.

    • Thanks for the tip about pasta bakes. I would have thought they might dry out if baked in advance. And I can’t believe you don’t like rhubarb! :) Please extend my best birthday wishes to your father.

  • A lovely dinner indeed. It’s so important to feel relaxed when preparing food for friends.

    I braise a leg of lamb, but on the top of the stove. I use a large enameled pan with a dome cover placed over two burners — the steam rises up to the cover and then precipitates, self basting the meat.

    The meat is taken out, cooled, and then sliced. The gravy is reduced/blended/strained if necessary. Both are put in the fridge.

    The next day,the gravy is heated first and the lamb slices carefully reheated, usually taking just a few minutes.

    I hope you don’t mind if I provide a link to my braised lamb dish.

    • Thanks so much for the link, Michelle. And that self-basting thing is such a good thing to keep in mind! My Staub cast iron pot has little dimples on the inside of the (otherwise flat) lid that helps the moisture precipitate evenly around the pot. Clever.

  • Never braised anything like that – sounds like something to try. For do ahead we usually use our crock pot slow cooker – pork with cranberries and carrots in the crock pot for a day goes over very well.

    • I like the idea of pork with cranberries, it’s a pairing I wasn’t familiar with. Do you use fresh, frozen, or dried?

  • Stacia Fisher

    I made this today and it was amazing! Perfect dinner for the first day of fall. I did not have fennel so just sprinkled some fennel seed and used extra carrot and onion. Also threw in some yukon gold potatoes at the end and they soaked up the juices and cooked beautifully. Was too lazy to add the gremolata but it great without. Love this recipe! Definately a keeper. My 2 year old sons loved it too!

    • Thank you for reporting back, Stacia, I’m delighted you liked it! The recipe does lend itself to lots of variations. Can you tell us how you cut the potatoes before adding them in? Wedges, cubes, slices?

  • missboston

    Clothilde, this recipe is *magnificent*. Your instructions are right on the mark and made it so easy to do this. I bow down!

  • Peter

    Do you braise the pork uncovered or covered? Normally, braises are covered but the recipe calls for a roasting pan and no mention of cover. Thanks for clarifying.

    • It is left uncovered. I believe a cover is “mandatory” if you’re braising on the stovetop, but if it’s in the oven, then the oven itself serves as the cover to contain the humidity.

      • Peter

        Thanks. It’s in the oven now!

        • I hope you report back when you get a chance!

          • Peter

            Bravo on 10 years for C&Z!
            Braised pork was awesome and totally enjoyed by all.

            Used a can of V8 for tomato juice and verjus in place of the wine. Served with side of pappardelle. Immersion blended about 1/2 of sauce to go better with noodles. Totalement splendide. Merci énormément!

          • I’m so glad, Peter, thank you for reporting back with the details!

  • Anneverywhere

    My latest favourite is braised shoulder of lamb. Brown the shoulder in a heavy pan with olive oil, take it out and cook LOTS of sliced onion (with lots of chopped garlic and ginger too) in the same pan. (I added a finely sliced head of fennel the last time). Put back the lamb with half the onion mix on top and half below. Add a broken cinnamon stick and black pepper (rub the lamb with a mix of Moroccan spices if you like) and oven-braise at 150 degrees for a couple of hours until soft. Sublime! Especially with a gremolata-style addition of coriander, spring onions and preserved lemon or chopped raw cumquat.

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