Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Braised Pork Ragu

After getting hit with over 10 inches of snow this week, I was craving my favorite winter comfort food...Braised Pork Ragu. If you've been to our house for dinner between the months of November and April, there's a good possibility you've seen this amazing dish a time or two. This dish is of those meals that takes about 10-15 minutes to prep and comes out of the oven a few hours later a complete culinary masterpiece of yumminess.  Perfect for company, or whenever you need to muster up some extra energy to shovel the driveway after a big storm. The best's even MORE flavorful the next day for leftovers (if there are any -- sometimes, I have to make a double-batch for the three of us!)

We typically just serve with a salad, but it's also delicious over creamy polenta or pappardelle pasta (long, flat wide noodles). Serve with a full-bodied Tuscan Red...deliciouso!

Braised Pork Ragu   
Servings: 6

1 (3-pound) Boston Butt or Pork Loin roast
1-1/2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 onion, cut in half and then thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 cup dry red wine
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes (I prefer the Hunts fire roasted, diced tomatoes, if you can find them)
1 cup chicken stock

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine paprika through dried rosemary in a bowl.  Season pork all over with the spice mixture.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large large Dutch over over medium-high heat. Sear pork in the hot oil until well browned on all sides, about 10 minutes.  Remove pork to plate.

3. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, as needed (pork butt has more fat, so I normally omit the extra oil when using that cut of meat). Stir onion and carrot into pot; cook until onion is soft, about 4-6 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

3. Pour in the wine; stir, scraping the bottom of the pot to release any browned bits from the bottom. Stir in the tomatoes and stock. Bring to a simmer; add meat back to pot.

5. Cook in the oven UNCOVERED (important for the sauce to thicken!) for 2-2 ½  hours, or until meat is very tender (should pull apart easily with a fork) and the sauce has thickened.

Note:  After 1 hour, I typically turn over the meat, so both sides have a chance to simmer in the delicious sauce.

6. When ready to serve, pull apart with two forks (aka, 'pulled-pork-barbeque' style) and mix together with the sauce.  Season, as needed, with additional kosher salt and pepper & serve.

I can't wait to have a bite!!!

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