Etymology of a Special: Picán's Shiner Bock-Braised Pork

Dean Dupuis, mastering pork.
Every week, SFoodie calls a local chef to ask what he or she is putting on the menu that night, and what inspired its creation.

Dean Dupuis moved from South City Kitchen in Atlanta to Oakland last year to take the executive chef position at Picán.

SFoodie: Anything new appearing on the menu this week?

Dupuis: Yeah, we're going to be serving Shiner Bock-braised Berkshire pork with buttered dumplings, Brussels sprouts, and a truffled ricotta cheese. I've been getting to sample some heritage pigs, playing around with the product, and found this great Berkshire shoulder It's just a tremendous product, fatty and tasty.

I'm slowly braising the shoulder with a beer out of Texas ― we're a Southern restaurant, obviously ― as well as lots of garlic, onions, and some chiles for a bit of heat. We going to braise that down and then make dumplings. So the dish is like chicken and dumplings, except with pork. Pork and dumplings. But we're not using a traditional West Coast dumpling. This is going to be a Southern-style rolled dumpling.

What does that entail? Well, it's a flour dumpling that has butter, buttermilk, and baking powder. We knead that into a dough, like a pasta ― it's not quite a pasta dough, though. We poach the dumplings in stock and then chill them. To order, we'll brown them with the Brussels sprouts in a little butter. Then we'll hand-shred the pork to go on top, with some of the braising liquid, and then add some local ricotta cheese mixed with truffle shavings and fresh herbs.

What inspired you to add truffles?
We like to do a twist ― do very lowly, simple down-home food and give it a contemporary upscale twist. So I'll serve morel mushrooms, caviar, or truffles along with casual Southern foods.

Why use Shiner Bock?
Well, I've been playing around with it for a while. It's hearty but not bitter. So I've been using it to make lot of things, including a mustard. We have Shiner on tap ― it's a very indiginous Southern beer.

When is this dish going to appear on the menu? I think I'll start it next Wednesday, and then I'll have it on the menu for the next three-four weeks.

Picán 2295 Broadway (at Grand), Oakland, (510) 834-1000

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