Braised Breast of Pork with Cabbage

  • Serves

    serves 6

Tommaso's calls this dish breast of pork carnevale. The cut of meat is found most easily in small butcher shops, especially Italian ones.



  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 5 lb. skinless breast of pork with ribs attached
  • 14 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped
  • 12 small yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 8 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 12 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 14 cup honey
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 12 cup red wine vinegar
  • 14 cup dates, pitted and chopped
  • 2 tbsp. chopped parsley leaves


  • 14 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 14 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
  • 14 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 head savoy cabbage, cored and sliced crosswise


Step 1

For the pork: To make the brining solution, put sugar, salt, cloves, bay leaves, and 4 cups water into a medium pot and boil over high heat, stirring often, until sugar and salt dissolve, about 5 minutes. Transfer solution to a large wide bowl and set aside until completely cool. Add pork, cover, and refrigerate for 2 days, turning every 8 hours.

Step 2

After 2 days, drain pork, pat dry, and set aside. Preheat oven to 550¼. Heat oil in a large, wide heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add garlic, celery, onions, sun-dried tomatoes, cardamom, red pepper, cumin, turmeric, and black pepper to taste and cook, stirring often, until vegetables soften, 5-8 minutes. Remove pot from heat; add pork, fat side up, and spread honey and brown sugar on top. Transfer pot to oven and roast pork, uncovered, until top begins to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300¼. Remove pot from oven and stir in stock and vinegar. Cover pot and braise pork in oven until very tender, about 3 hours. Transfer pork to a cutting board, cut into large pieces, then arrange on a warm platter. Loosely cover with foil and set aside.

Step 3

Skim off fat from sauce in pot, then boil sauce over medium-high heat until slightly thickened, 8-10 minutes. Strain sauce, pressing on solids with back of spoon, into a saucepan. Stir in dates, cover, and keep sauce warm over lowest heat.

Step 4

For the cabbage: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, red pepper flakes and fennel seeds and saute for about 10 seconds. Add cabbage, salt and black pepper to taste, and 1⁄4 cup of warm sauce. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is soft, 15-20 minutes.

Step 5

Spoon warm sauce over pork, garnish with parsley, and serve with with cabbage.

Continue to Next Story

Want more SAVEUR?

Get our favorite recipes, stories, and more delivered to your inbox.