Braised Pork Shoulder with Mandarins


One day over the holidays, I asked out loud to a room full of family, “what foods should everyone eat more of in the new year?” (I was planning my first radio segment of January.)

My nephews answered, “apples!” “Vegetables!” The youngest yelled out, “TACOS!!”

Everyone continued with their vaguely healthy resolution-style suggestions. Charlie kept yelling, “TACOS!”


And so it seems fitting to start the new year with tacos. Also, we wound up with two open bottles of nice, local stout, and because no one wants to drink flat beer but it’s perfectly fine for braising meats with, I picked up some pork shoulder. (I told you I don’t like to waste food.)


And who doesn’t have at least a few squidgy mandarins at this time of year? These were juicy and sweet, but soft with drying-out leathery skins, making them tough to peel. I did it over the pot of meat, tucking chunks of peeled orange in the spaces between. It worked beautifully.



You could, of course, do this in the slow cooker, but spending a few minutes giving it a nice crust in a hot pan makes all the difference. And the oven will get the job done a bit faster, with a more condensed flavour and texture.


If you want the meat a bit spicier, rub it with chili powder and cumin before you brown it in the pan. Pull it apart and devour it as is, or pile it into soft tortillas with crumbled feta, avocado and more cilantro.


Braised Pork Shoulder with Mandarins


January 4, 2017


canola or olive oil, for cooking

1 2-4 lb pork shoulder, untied

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1-2 onions, halved and thinly sliced

2-3 garlic cloves, crushed

beer or chicken stock

a few mandarin oranges

a small handful of cilantro (optional)


1Preheat the oven to 300F.

2Set a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add a drizzle of oil and brown the meat on all sides, seasoning it with salt and pepper, letting it sit and develop a nice crust on each side. Transfer to a plate and add the onions to the pot; cook for a few minutes, loosening up any browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Stir in the garlic.

3Set the pork on top of the onions and pour in enough beer or stock to come about halfway up the side. Tuck in a few halved mandarin oranges, squeezing some of their juice over the meat first, if you like. Toss in a handful of cilantro (or not).

4Cover and cook for 3-5 hours, or until the meat is very tender. If you like, remove it from the oven and prod the meat a bit or flip it over halfway through. Spoon off any excess fat (or if you like, cool and refrigerate, then lift off the excess fat before reheating). Shred with forks, tossing with the juices and broken-down onions and oranges. Add more salt, if it needs it.

5Serve as-is, or stuff soft tortillas and add crumbled feta, avocado and cilantro. Serves lots.


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8 comments on “Braised Pork Shoulder with Mandarins

  1. Kim
    January 5, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    Looks delicious! I’ve made something along the same lines with peaches (frozen when they were on sale in the summer), onion and garlic, and a bit of maple syrup – it all just turns into sauce.

  2. Dr J
    January 9, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    Julie, where are your tortillas from? They don’t look like usual Calgary grocery store brands.

  3. Nicolle
    January 11, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Hi Julie!

    Today I am making this recipe for the second time since you posted it only a week ago! My family loved it that much. The first time I made it, I didn’t have any mandarins, but happened to have some Meyer lemons, so I tried them instead. A little tart, but still really good. Thanks for the recipe!! 🙂

    • Julie
      January 17, 2017 at 10:29 am

      This is so great to hear! I was surprised that there wasn’t more response to this one! Meyer lemons sound tart – but delish!

  4. Tamar @ A Feminist Cooks
    January 21, 2017 at 7:08 am

    Can’t wait to make this next week!

  5. Laurel
    January 22, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    OMG! Made this for a family taco party today and it was awesome! Easy, delicious …everyone loved it! Thanks for sharing,Julie!

    • Julie
      January 23, 2017 at 10:10 pm

      That’s so great to hear!!

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