Now’s the time for Hearty Homestyle Pork Ragoût
In the depths of winter, when the mercury plunges and the wind chill bites we crave meaty, hot bowls of sustenance. Save your salads for April. Right now, we need a pot of belly-warming goodness and maybe a glass of house red. We want a hearty, homestyle pork ragout.
You may think me a wimp, because frigid in South Florida is about 45?, but whatever your threshold for bone-numbing cold, when you reach it — you want this in the oven.
As with any braise, use a cut of meat that can stand up to and benefit from an extended cooking time, like pork shoulder (a.k.a. Boston Butt). You’ll also need a good sturdy dutch oven (I prefer the enamel-coated style pictured here) and a pair of tongs.
Cut the pork shoulder into several large chunks and brown them over a medium high heat in the dutch oven. Then add the chopped vegetables and saute until tender. San Marzano tomatoes in puree, a few glugs of red wine and a bundle of fresh herbs give flavor and body to the braise.
Return the pork and any accumulated juices to the pot, cover the pot tightly with the lid and braise in the oven for 2 1/2 hours.
The pork breaks down to the point where you can easily pull it apart with a fork and mix it with the slow-cooked sauce.
Serve over egg noodles, mashed potatoes or creamy polenta with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. If the cold weather is punishment, consider this hearty, homestyle pork ragoût your reward for surviving it!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 14 ounce can san marzano tomatoes in puree
- 1/3 cup red wine
- Preheat the oven to 325°.
- Cut pork shoulder into 3-4 large chunks. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and pepper. In a dutch oven over medium high heat add the olive oil. When oil is hot, add the chunks of pork and brown it on all sides, turning every so often - this should take 10-12 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate and add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic and mushrooms to the dutch oven. Sprinkle with remaining kosher salt and cook over medium heat until some of the liquid is given off and the vegetables are tender, about 4-5 minutes.
- Using a piece of kitchen string or twine, tie the rosemary and thyme leaves into a bundle. Add them to the vegetables along with the bay leaves. Stir in the tomatoes, breaking them up with the back of a wooden spoon or tongs. Stir in the red wine. Add the pork back to the pot along with any accumulated juices. Settle the pork into the vegetables and cover tightly with a lid. Transfer to the oven and braise for 2 1/2 hours.
- can be doubled