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.


Anonymous 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! :-)


Anonymous 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 Anne 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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