10 months ago

Braised Pork Ragu

Pork shoulder, onions, carrots, garlic, red wine and tomatoes simmer on the stove all afternoon in this cozy fall recipe from Twin Cities food blogger greens & chocolate. Delicious served over pasta, polenta, mashed potatoes or gnocchi.

Does anyone else feel like we’ve missed out on autumn? It seemed as if we went straight from hot and humid to cold and rainy…and fast forward to freezing cold temps. Oh, Minnesota. Always keeping us on our toes with the weather. At least it gives us something to talk about, right?

The sudden onset of chilly temps has me craving all of the comfort food, and that is one thing I can get behind. It seems like every other day I have a soup in my Instant Pot, or a pot of something cozy bubbling on the stove-top. As much as I love (LOVE!) my Instant Pot, there’s something special about the process of slowly braising. Maybe it’s the smell that fills my kitchen. Maybe it’s the fact that I can lift the lid and give it a sneak peek every hour. Who knows. Regardless, slow-braising a pork shoulder is my favorite way to cook it.

This Braised Pork Ragu has so much flavor and ends up perfectly fork tender. I started by searing the pork shoulder in hot oil on all sides. This creates a beautiful crust and really helps hold in the juices while it braises. Then I sautéed an onion, some carrots and garlic, added some red wine and a bunch of canned tomatoes, and let the pork cook in it for about four hours.

That said, it’s pretty important to be home all afternoon while this pork cooks. This is, admittedly, the downside of braising as opposed to the slow cooker or Instant Pot. I think that’s maybe why I like it so much. It’s a special way of cooking that doesn’t feel like everyday cooking. It surely doesn’t produce everyday results. The flavor is amazing!

I debated between serving this pork ragu with a pasta such as tagliatelle, over Parmesan polenta, or with gnocchi. In the end, my love for soft, pillowy gnocchi won and I’m positive I made the right choice. It was absolutely amazing. Of course, you can serve it however you want – with the pasta or polenta as I had contemplated, or maybe on top of mashed potatoes or, for a low-carb option, on top of mashed cauliflower.

This meal is just perfect to make on a weekend afternoon. Whether it’s a relaxing afternoon on the couch watching the game, or in your backyard raking the leaves, this Braised Pork Ragu will be the perfect ending to your day and weekend.

Braised Pork Ragu

8 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 4 hours

Ingredients
1 (3-4 pound) pork shoulder
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 white onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 cup red wine
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
Shredded or grated Parmesan cheese, for topping
Fresh parsley, chopped, for topping

Directions

  1. Pat the pork shoulder with a paper towel to remove excess liquid. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add olive oil to a large oven-proof Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  3. Once oil is hot, add the pork shoulder and brown on each side for 3-4 minutes each. 
  4. Remove pork from the Dutch oven and set aside on a plate.  
  5. Add the onion, carrots, garlic and Italian seasoning; season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook the vegetables until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
  6. Add the wine and cook for another 5 minutes, until slightly reduced.
  7. Add the crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes; stir well to combine.
  8. Return the pork to the Dutch oven, tucking it into the sauce.
  9. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover.  
  10. Let the mixture simmer for 3 ½-4 hours, until pork is fork tender and easily shreddable. Note: Make sure the mixture is lightly simmering the entire time. If your heat is too low and the mixture isn’t hot enough, the pork will likely not be done in 4 hours.
  11. Once the pork has finished cooking, shred the pork with two forks. 
  12. Serve ragu with pasta, polenta or gnocchi. Top with shredded or grated Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. Enjoy!
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