You know those meals that feel like a great big hug? I’m just gonna go ahead and say it – this Braised Pork Ragu is exactly that. It’s slow cooked, rich, flavorful, shredded pork that is comforting, but not too heavy.
Our weather in Minnesota basically went straight from hot and humid to cold and rainy, which had me craving all the comfort food. We’ve actually had a little bit of a relief from the rain the past week, and some really pleasant fall days.
The sudden onset of chilly temps had me go from grilling every night to craving all of the comfort food. I wasn’t too happy about all of the rain, but I can get behind comfort food.
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 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, slowly 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 the pork shoulder by searing it in hot oil on all sides. This creates a beautiful crust and really helps hold in the juices while it braises. I then sautéed an onion, some carrots, and garlic, added some red wine, and a bunch of canned tomatoes, and let the pork cook for about four hours.
That said, you have 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 every day cooking. It surely doesn’t produce every day results. The flavor is amazing!
I debated between serving this Braised 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 SO delicious. Of course, you can serve it however you want – with the pasta or polenta as I contemplated – or maybe on top of mashed potatoes or, for a lower 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!
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Braised Pork Ragu
- 3-4 lb 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
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
- Shredded or grated Parmesan cheese for topping
- Fresh parsley chopped, for topping
- Pat the pork shoulder with paper towel to remove excess liquid. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add olive oil to a large oven-proof Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- Once the oil is hot, add the pork shoulder and brown on each side for 3-4 minutes each.
- Remove the pork from the Dutch oven.
- Add the onion, carrots, garlic, and Italian seasoning, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Cook the vegetables until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the wine and cook for another 5 minutes, until slightly reduced.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes, and stir well to combine.
- Return the pork to the Dutch oven, tucking it into the sauce.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover.
- Let the mixture simmer for 3 1/2-4 hours, until the pork is fork tender and easily shreddable.
- Note: make sure the mixture is lightly simmering the entire time. If the heat is too low and the mixture isn't hot enough, the pork will likely not be done in 4 hours.
- Once the pork is finished, shred the pork with two forks.
- Serve rage with pasta, polenta, or gnocchi.
- Top with shredded or grated Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.