Pork braised in Coffee & Sugarcane with Beetroot and Crème Fraiche


This is one of my most prized recipes from a trip to South America. I had this dish at restaurant iLatina in Buenos Aires, a ‘closed door’ venue which is only accessible by reservation. These types of restaurants were set up following the economic crisis in Argentina from people’s homes and have transformed the dining scene in Buenos Aires. This dish is Columbian in origin with the coffee providing a mellow bitterness against the sweet sugar, it’s an incredible dish.

Pork braised in Coffee & Sugarcane with Beetroot and Crème Fraiche
Serves 4
  1. 1kg Pork shoulder, excess fat removed
  2. 1 tbsp each of cumin, mild curry powder, rock salt, liquid smoke and dark brown sugar
  3. 3 Star anise
  4. 10 Cardamon pods, crushed, seeds reserved
  5. 600ml Veal or beef stock, reduced until thickened (around 200ml)
  6. 50g Butter
  7. 50g Plain flour
  8. 2-3 Sprigs fresh thyme
  9. Dark brown sugar, to taste
  10. 1 tbsp Colombian ground coffee, dissolved in 3 tbsp boiling water
Beetroot puree
  1. 2 Large Beetroot, peeled and cooked
  2. 2 tbsp Red wine vinegar
  3. 1 tbsp Dark brown sugar
  4. 2 tbsp Creme fraiche, plus extra for serving
  5. Olive oil
  6. Nasturtium, sorrel or pea shoots, to garnish
  1. Beginning 24 hours in advance. Slice the pork shoulder joint into 4-6 large steaks, depending on how many servings you need.
  2. In a large bowl, add the salt, cumin, seeds of the cardamom, curry powder, brown sugar, liquid smoke and the star anise. Mix together and add the pork. Smear the marinade all over the pork, cover the bowl with cling film and leave in the fridge overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 150C.
  4. Remove the pork from the bowl and place into a large ovenproof dish. Pour water into the dish to come 2cm up the side. Cover the dish with foil and place the pork in the oven for 4-6 hours. The pork should come apart easily when touched with a fork. Keep warm.
  5. Chop the beetroot into small dice and pour a small amount of olive oil into a pan. Turn the heat up to medium and add the beetroot. Pour over the red wine vinegar and sugar, mix well and cook until the vinegar reduces and the mixture becomes thick but not jammy. Pour the contents of the pan into a blender and add the crème fraiche. Blitz to a puree, place into a clean pan and keep warm.
  6. For the sauce, add the thyme and a generous pinch of brown sugar to the reduced stock along with the coffee, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Keep warm over a low heat.
  7. Make a roux by melting the butter in a pan over a medium heat and whisking in the flour. Once a golden colour is achieved with no white of the flour visible, add the sauce bit by bit, whisking all the time until you are left with a thick, glossy sauce. Taste again and check the seasoning. Remove the thyme and keep warm.
  8. To serve. Make a swipe of the beetroot puree with a pastry brush on one side of the plate. Make a swipe of crème fraiche on the opposite side. Trim the pork into a neat portion and place in the centre of the plate, glaze this with the sauce. Garnish with the salad leaves and serve.
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