Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Schoolhouse Pork Ragu

This is a rich, meaty dish, excellent for winter. It smells wonderful cooking, and gives you that smug sense of "dinner's taken care of". Note that a ragu is prepared just like a pot roast, except that it is braised in an acidic tomato sauce rather than broth or beer-- it's nothing complicated, so don't be intimidated. Like a pot roast, this dish is at its best cooked in a cast iron pot on the stovetop, not a crock pot.

*Schoolhouse Pork Ragu*

2 T. olive oil

any size pork shoulder on all sides. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Remove to a plate and set aside.

In drippings, saute:
1 chopped onion
4 cloves minced garlic
2-3 sprigs worth of fresh rosemary, minced.

Return meat to pot.
Add 1 35-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 t. coarse salt
lots of fresh-ground pepper

Bring to boil, cover, turn down to simmer, and let simmer for 3-4 hours. You want it very, very tender. Careful of scorching towards the end as your sauce thickens up. When ready to eat, remove the pork to a pie plate and break apart into manageable chunks, then return meat to pot. Serve over broad pasta such as fettucini or pappardelle, with freshly-grated Parmesan, of course. Add bread, salad, and eat happily.


C.A. Worcester said...


Can you do the same thing with beef? It sounds really good the way you make it - but we are pretty much Kosher and so we don't eat pork.....have you ever tried it with beef??

What do you do for New Years??? I would love some ideas to start here in our home...I am sort of blah these days and so my imagination is not working so well. I think I need some inspiration! :-)


momof3blessings said...


You inspired me with a previous post to get a cast iron dutch oven but I usually like to add a little wine to my sauces. I had read on other sites that acidic things can eat into the seasoning of cast iron. I have yet to purchase a thick dutch oven and am now wavering between cast iron, cast aluminum(1950's would find one on ebay) or just really good quality stainless steel(all clad). I see with this recipe you use acidic ingred. in the cast iron--I would be greatful for any feedback, advice as I am an American in Germany and whatever I decide to get won't be easy to return once it gets here. Thanks again for your great blog.

Anna said...


I know that you can indeed make a beef ragu. I would use a chuck roast or bottom round and proceed as directed.

momof3blessings: I have read that cooking acidic foods in an iron pot is actually good for you because some of the iron leaches out into your food. I have not a problem with the seasoning being damaged. I love enameled cast iron also.But in my experience, even the best stainless steel doesn't give the slow steady heat of cast iron.


Heather said...

Thank you for the recipe Anna - it sounds like something my family would enjoy. I like to try new recipes in January and so I have been collecting main dish recipes for a few weeks. My family has come to look forward to trying new things all month and it keeps my interest in cooking different meals alive. I have been very successful with your pot roast directions too, and we all enjoyed the ginger shortbread! Thank you so much!
I thought of your love for vintage patterns tonight when we watched the original 'Cheaper by the Dozen' movie - great 1920's clothing inspiration!

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