Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Slow Cooked Pork Ragu

I found this amazing kitchenware shop in Phillip Island on the weekend called Cleanskin. My gosh, it was like a home cooks heaven. Let me loose in there with a couple of thousands of dollars and I actually think I could have aqcuired everything I would ever need as a home cook, EVER.

Anyway, I didn't have thousands of dollars so I was limited to the small range of gourmet produce the shop also stocked and I picked up this packet of multi-flavoured pasta bows- beetroot, carrot, squid ink, potato, paprika, spinach and tarragon. So when trying to decide on a dish for visitors tonight, I chose a dish that would compliment this amazingly coloured pasta.

Beautiful coloured pasta

Now this dish is an adapted recipe from this months Italian edition of Gourmet Traveller. It features a pork ragu but as I was cooking it I found myself making some edits as the dish seemed a little too meaty and I wanted to add some subtler flavours to it. The end product was very enjoyable. Don't be turned away by the slow cooking aspect of it- this could have been easily done in a slow cooker, but I chose to do it in a low temperature oven as sometimes I find the slow cooker doesn't give the same caramalisation as an oven does. It does require you to be home for a good four hours or so, but it is the perfect dish for a cold day when all you want to do is stay inside and inhale the wonderful aroma of comfort food simmering away!

Slow Cooked Pork Ragu (serves 5)
The finished product

600 grams pork shoulder cut into 6 pieces (just ask your butcher for this piece of meat if it is not out in the window, they will cut it for you. Super cheap also, only 8 bucks or so for the size you need)
200 grams of mild pancetta, sliced bacon thin and chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
300 mls of dry white wine
500 mls of veal stock (you can buy this at deli's in a sachet)
Olive oil
Teaspoon of dried sage (or fresh if available)
Teaspoon of dried thyme (or fresh if available)
2 cans of tinned tomatoes
Handful of rocket or spinach leaves
Choice of pasta, cooked as per instructions on packet

Preheat oven to 150 degrees. Heat a dash of olive oil in a frypan. Seal the pork pieces until lightly browned (apart 2-3 mins on each side) then place in a large casserole dish.

Sear the pork

 In the same frying pan add pancetta and saute for 2 mins until the fat starts to soften. Add onion and garlic and saute for another 15 minutes or so, stirring gently until an almost sauce like consistancy happens. Add the wine and bring to the boil very quickly. Allow to boil for 5 minutes- the wine should reduce by half.
Simmering the pancetta, onion and garlic in the white wine

 Pour this mixture over the pork pieces. Add the veal stock and herbs.

Into the oven for three hours
Cook in oven on the 150 degree heat for 3 hours, turning the meat every half an hour.
Remove from oven. Place pork on a plate- it should be meltingly tender. Carefully drain the hot liquid from the dish through a colander into a saucepan. Add the chunky onion, garlic and pancetta to the pork. Shred the pork on the plate into bite size pieces using a knife and fork.
Meanwhile, bring the liquid sauce to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. The sauce should reduce to about a cup or so of liquid. Re-add the pork, and the two tins of tomatoes. Simmer for another 20 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Add handful of rocket or spinach mostly for colour and allow to wilt. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

Serve with pasta.

This is one of those impressive dishes that sound complicated, but actually only require small amounts of time every few hours. The dish mostly cooks itself, you just need to be around to tinker with it every now and then. My partner and guest were impressed, as was I. An ideal meal for a cold night.


  1. Hi,
    Of amazing kitchen shops have you been to Chef's Hat on Cecil St opposite the Sth Melb Market. It blows my mind and the Kitchen Goddess never leaves without buying something. That should be plural!

  2. I will be going there now!!! Although it may be dangerous... I may have to put myself on a price limit :)


Leave me a comment or question about my adventures! =)