Afelia is a classic Cypriot dish of pork marinated and braised in red wine and coriander seeds. With the short ingredient list (the only other items are olive oil, salt, and pepper), it’s as easy as braising gets.
The coriander seed is a mild spice that adds a sweet citrus note. It is used extensively in traditional Cypriot and Greek fare. Any dish prepared à la grecque (in the greek style) is almost guaranteed to have some.
The braising liquid of red wine and crushed coriander seeds gives the pork a subtle sweetness and sourness. Most afelia recipes call for coarsely ground coriander seeds and no straining. The grittiness may seem distracting at first, but I find that it contrasts nicely against the tenderness of slowly cooked pork.
Pork Braised with Red Wine and Coriander Seeds
makes 4 to 6 servings
start the preparation one day in advance
Coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle.
2 pounds pork shoulder, sliced into 1 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups dry red wine
2 heaping tablespoons whole coriander seeds
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Crush the coriander seeds right before using. It rapidly loses aroma once ground.
- Marinate the pork. Put the sliced pork in a bowl and add 1 1/2 cups red wine. Coarsely crush 1 heaping tablespoon of coriander seeds and mix with the pork and red wine. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- Braise the pork. Remove the pork from the marinade and pat dry. Reserve all of the marinade.
- In a heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Lightly brown the pork on all sides, a few pieces at a time if necessary.
- Pour the marinade along with the remaining 1/2 cup of red wine and just enough water to barely cover the pork. Season lightly with salt and pepper, keeping in mind that the braising liquid will be reduced. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover and braise for about 2 hours, or until the pork is fork-tender. Add more water during the braise if necessary.
- About 20 minutes before removing the pork from the heat, coarsely crush the remaining 1 heaping tablespoon of coriander seeds and sprinkle over the pork. Reduce the braising liquid until thick.
- Serve hot with crusty olive bread. Also try Ivy’s version cooked with potatoes.