Pressure Cooker Pork Ragu with Pappardelle

I made this dish to celebrate Valentine’s Day with my meat-loving husband. ❤ One of his absolute favorite dishes is a pork ragu served over pappardelle; this dish is a wonderful weeknight version.

This recipe was adapted from the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen. We ate it with roasted asparagus and cauliflower with a custardy French Apple Cake for dessert. My Valentine was pleased! 🙂

Yield: 8 servings

  • 3 links (about 8 ounces) sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 lb. boneless pork shoulder, trimmed (I used country rib meat)
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, torn, plus more for garnish, if desired
  • 1 lb. pappardelle pasta
  • freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
  1. In pressure-cooker pot on medium-high, cook sausage in oil 5 minutes or until fat has rendered, breaking up meat as it cooks.
  2. With slotted spoon, transfer to large bowl.
  3. Season pork all over with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  4. In batches, add pork to pot; cook 4 minutes or until browned on two sides, turning once halfway through. Transfer pork to bowl with sausage.
  5. To pot, add carrots, onion and garlic; cook 8 minutes, stirring often.
  6. Add wine; cook 3 minutes.
  7. Return meat to pot and add tomatoes, milk, bay leaves and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  8. Cover and bring up to pressure on high. Reduce heat to medium-low, maintaining pressure. Cook 20 minutes. Remove from heat; let pressure release naturally.
  9. Meanwhile, cook the pappardelle according to the package directions.
  10. Uncover cooker and discard bay leaves. Fork shred the pork. Stir in basil.
  11. Serve tossed with pasta, garnished with Parmesan.

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Broken Pasta with Shredded Pork & Arugula

Arugula is my absolute favorite item in my CSA share. It is so peppery and fabulous. I loved that this cozy comfort food dish used it as a glorious and bright topping along with lemon juice and cheese.

This dish was adapted from chef Nick Anderer of restaurant Maialino in New York, via Smitten Kitchen. I used boneless pork shoulder ribs instead of a whole pork shoulder, increased the lemon juice and cheese, added a carrot and omitted the fennel. I also cooked the meat in a slow cooker instead of the oven.

I reserved half of the cooked meat, after step 9, to freeze to enjoy at a later date. Nice.

Yield: Serves 8 to 10

  • 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder rib pieces (or 1 bone-in pork shoulder, about 4 pounds)
  • coarse salt
  • 4 T olive oil, divided
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 2 large ribs celery, cut into large pieces
  • 1 carrot or 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into large pieces
  • 1 quart chicken stock, plus a splash or two more, if needed
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 20-ounces dry lasagna, broken into 3-inch shards
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
  • 4 tablespoons (or more) grated or shaved parmesan or grand padano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, if desired
  • Large handful or two of arugula leaves, cleaned
  1. Prepare pork: Use a sharp knife to remove the thick skin from the pork, but not trimming off all the fat — leave a thin sheen. Season generously with salt and place in fridge until ready to use — overnight is ideal but a few hours will cut it as well.
  2. Sear the pork: Heat a deep saucepan over medium-high and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. When it shimmers, gently cook the onion, celery and carrot (or fennel) until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Dry pork with a paper towel to remove some excess salt. Season with pepper. Add an additional 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan, then add the pork and cook until browned on all sides.
  4. Add pork to a slow cooker. Add broth, vegetables, and thyme sprigs. Cover.
  5. Cook on high for 3 hours. Remove pork from braising liquid. Allow to cool enough to be able to handle.
  6. Using two forks, tear the meat into bite-size shreds. Place in a large bowl.
  7. Strain the braising liquid, pouring enough of it over the pork to barely cover it and keep it from drying out. Place back in the slow cooker insert and set to warm.
  8. Pour the rest of the braising liquid into the original saucepan and simmer it until it is reduced by half.
  9. Add pork and cooking liquid that has covered it, and warm it back to a simmer. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if needed. (**At this point, I reserved half of the meat and braising liquid to freeze for use at another time.**)
  10. Add the butter and stir to emulsify. (Because I removed half of the pork, I used 1/2 of the amount of ingredients listed above for the remainder of this dish, including the butter.)
  11. Bring large pot of well-salted water to boil. Cook pasta until al dente, or usually a minute shy of package directions. (I used no-cook lasagna noodles and cooked them for about 8 minutes.)
  12. Drain and add to the pork mixture, simmering for 1 minute.
  13. Add the lemon juice, half the cheese and parsley, if using.
  14. Ladle into wide pasta bowls with and top with arugula and remaining cheese.

Note: If saving some of the pork to use later, rewarm the defrosted pork and braising liquid to a simmer, add a splash or two of pasta cooking water if needed to loosen it, and then the butter. Add freshly cooked pasta, lemon juice and parmesan from here.

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Vaguely Vietnamese Slow Cooker Pork Tacos

This really isn’t a taco blog! (or a Mexican food blog) 😉 I’ll stop after this one… or pretty soon anyway. In fact, calling these “tacos” is a little bit of a misrepresentation. They really taste something like deconstructed dumplings. Maybe? A warm, flavorful filling topped with a bright and crunchy slaw. All I really need to say is that these “tacos” were yummy.

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Sam Sifton. I used trimmed boneless pork shoulder country-style ribs instead of a bone-in pork shoulder and an unpeeled European seedless cucumber. I served the filling in warm 6-inch corn and wheat tortillas instead of flour tortillas. Perfect.

This is the second dish I’m bringing to Fiesta Friday #105 this week! 😉 Hosted by Lily @ Little Sweet Baker and Julianna @ Foodie on Board. Enjoy!

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

For the Pork:

  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 1 medium-size yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • ½ cup hoisin sauce
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce
  • 4 to 5-pounds boneless pork shoulder country-style ribs, fat trimmed or a 5-pound bone-in pork shoulder, skin and fat removed
  • 12 to 16 corn and wheat tortillas, warmed

For the Slaw:

  • ⅓ cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 2 T neutral oil, like peanut or grapeseed
  • 1 tsp sriracha sauce, or to taste
  • 10 oz shredded green cabbage or 1 small green cabbage, cored and sliced thinly
  • 1 European seedless cucumber, unpeeled, sliced into julienne or 2 medium-size cucumbers, peeled and sliced into julienne
  • 2 medium-size carrots, peeled and sliced into julienne
  • 1 Asian pear, peeled, cored and sliced into julienne
  • ½ bunch fresh cilantro, rinsed, dried and roughly chopped
  1. Prepare the pork: Place a sauté pan over medium-high heat. After a minute or so, swirl in the sesame oil and then the onions, stirring to combine. Sauté for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and continue to cook until the onions are soft and becoming translucent. Turn off the heat, stir in the ginger and set aside.
  2. Add the hoisin sauce and the fish sauce to the pan, and stir to combine, loosening the mixture with a little less than half a cup of water. Add sriracha sauce to taste.
  3. Put a few spoonfuls of the sauce in the bottom of a slow cooker, then nestle the pork on top of it. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the pork.
  4. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 5 to 7 hours, or until the pork shreds easily with a fork. Remove the pork from the slow cooker and allow to rest for a few minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make the slaw: Put the vinegar, ginger, sesame oil, neutral oil and sriracha sauce in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the cabbage, cucumbers, carrots and Asian pear and toss to combine.
  6. Shred the pork with a pair of forks. Discard bones, if applicable.
  7. Return the pulled pork to the slow cooker and stir to combine with the juices. Serve with the slaw and warmed tortillas, with the cilantro on the side.

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Slow Cooker Pork Tinga Tacos

Meat and potatoes… in a TACO!?!? This may have been my husband’s dream dinner. 🙂 The chipotles and slow cooker cooking were for me! This filling could also be served on its own as a chili. This recipe is from Rick Bayless’ Mexico- One Plate at a Time, Season 7, via rickbayless.com. Delicious!!!

Yield: 6 servings

  • 1 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 pound lean, boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 ounces chorizo sausage, about 1 link, removed from its casing
  • 5 to 6 medium (about 3/4 to 1 pound total) red-skinned potatoes, quartered
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, sliced 1/4–inch thick
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, in juice (preferably fire-roasted)
  • 2 to 3 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, finely chopped
  • 4 teaspoons chipotle canning sauce (adobo)
  • 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • coarse salt
  • About 1/2 cup crumbled Mexican queso fresco or other fresh cheese like feta or salted pressed farmers cheese
  • 1 avocado, pitted, flesh scooped from the skin and diced
  • warm corn tortillas, for serving
  1. If your slow cooker has an insert that can go on the stovetop, heat the oil in it over medium-high heat. (If it cannot go on the stove or you do not have a removable insert heat the oil in a very large (12-inch) non-stick skillet.) Once the oil is very hot, add the pork and chorizo in a single layer and cook, stirring until the meat has browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and place the insert into your slow cooker (if you’re using a skillet, transfer the meat and its juices into the slow cooker).
  2. Add the potatoes, onions, garlic, tomatoes with their liquid, chipotles, chipotle sauce, Worcestershire, oregano and 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir to mix thoroughly. Cook at the highest temperature.
  3. The tinga will be finished after 6 hours at the highest temperature, though you can hold it for longer. (My slow-cooker can be programmed to switch from high after 6 hours to a keep-warm low temperature for up to another 6 hours. Some slow cookers click to keep-warm automatically; others need to be switched manually.)
  4. After six hours, gently stir the tinga. If the sauce seems too thick, stir in a little water. Taste, and season with salt if you think the dish needs it. Scoop into a large bowl, sprinkle with the fresh cheese and diced avocado, and serve with warm tortillas.

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Root Beer Pulled-Pork Sandwiches

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I initially scoffed (to myself, of course!) when I heard about making pulled pork with this method. BUT… in order to try the “Carolina Gold Barbeque Sauce” that I saw at Trader Joe’s, I needed a sauceless method to cook pulled pork. Root beer was perfect. 🙂 This might be the most simple dish I have ever made– or at least the simplest I would blog about! The pork was perfectly cooked and seasoned and the sauce was similar to Piggy Park in Columbia, South Carolina- my goal.  I have been on a quest for a long time to make a homemade version of this sauce with little success. My husband LOVES it! My last attempt was South Carolina Mustard Pulled Pork. One of my friends was SHOCKED that I was using bottled sauce- but it was tasty! 🙂 We ate our sandwiches with coleslaw and baked beans.

  • 2-3 pound boneless pork shoulder, pork butt, or boneless pork rib meat
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning
  • 16 to 20 oz good quality root beer
  • 8 to 10 oz Trader Joe’s Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce, or barbecue sauce of choice
  1. Generously season the meat with salt and pepper. Place in slow cooker. Add root beer.
  2. Cover, and cook until the meat is very tender and falling apart, about 8 hours on low (or on high for about 6 hours).
  3. Remove meat from cooking liquid and shred meat using two forks.
  4. Place in a bowl and mix with barbecue sauce of choice. Keep warm.
  5. Serve on brioche or other sandwich rolls.

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Pork and Green Chile Stew

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The first time I made this dish it was for my family reunion last summer. I doubled the recipe and it was GONE. This dish has a lot of flavor, a lot of mild chiles- Poblanos, and a little bit of heat from the Serrano chiles. I cook it down more that the original recipe states in order to create a thick sauce. This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Grace Parisi. It is a favorite in our house! We ate it with warm corn tortillas, brown basmati rice, and green salad on the side.

SERVINGS: 6
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 pounds trimmed boneless pork shoulder or boneless country-style ribs, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large or 2 medium sweet onions, such as Vidalia, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 pound mild green chiles, such as poblanos and Anaheims—halved lengthwise, cored and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 3 serrano chiles, seeded and thinly sliced crosswise (keep some seeds for spicier flavor)
  • 6-7 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • Lime wedges, warm corn tortillas and rice, for serving
  1. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the olive oil until almost smoking. Season the pork cubes with salt and black pepper and add them to the casserole. Cook the pork over medium-high heat, stirring once or twice, until lightly browned in spots, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the onion, green chiles, serrano chiles and garlic. Cover and cook over medium-high heat, stirring once or twice, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer the stew over moderately low heat until the pork is just tender and the broth is reduced by about half, about 45 minutes, uncover if necessary.
  4. Stir in the 1/4 cup of cilantro and season with salt and black pepper. Garnish the stew with cilantro and serve with lime wedges, corn tortillas and rice.
MAKE AHEAD: The stew can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

South Carolina Mustard Pulled Pork

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For a long time, I have been on a quest to duplicate the mustard-based pulled pork from the Piggy Park in Columbia, South Carolina. My husband has the FONDEST food memory of their pulled pork sandwich from his college days! This recipe, adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Sean Brock, was my most recent attempt.

I had really high hopes based on the title of the barbecue sauce– SOUTH Carolina sauce- which is mustard-based, not ketchup-based like North Carolina sauce (and most other barbecue sauces), and it is listed as a “staff-favorite” recipe. It was super-tasty with nice mustard flavor, but, different than the Piggy Park….

I slow-cooked the pork in a convection oven but I think that it would have had more pan juices for the sauce if I had used the slow-cooker- I had to add additional stock to my pan juices and drippings. The original recipe also required the pork to be smoked on a grill for 1 hour after it is slow-cooked in the oven. Even though this undoubtedly adds another layer of flavor, I skipped this step because we are not huge fans of smoky flavor. We ate it on brioche rolls with potato chips and coleslaw on the side. A perfect (almost perfect) Father’s Day celebratory meal. 🙂 Happy Father’s Day!

Serves 6 to 8

  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoons freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • One 5- to 6-pound boneless pork shoulder
  • chicken stock, as needed
  • South Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce, recipe follows
  1. Preheat the oven to 275°. In a medium bowl, whisk the mustard with the brown sugar, salt, pepper, paprika and onion powder. Set the pork shoulder, fat side up, in a roasting pan. (Alternatively, a slow-cooker could be used set on low.) Brush the pork with the mustard mixture. Roast, uncovered, for 6 to 7 hours (on convection), or 8 hours, covered, in a slow-cooker, until the meat is very tender.
  2. Tilt the pan and pour the roasting juices into a medium bowl; you should have about 3/4 cup. (I used stock to compensate for less pan juices.) Refrigerate the juices for 30 minutes. Skim off the fat before using.
  3. Transfer the pork to a work surface and let rest for 30 minutes. Discard the gristle and fat. Using tongs and a fork, or your fingers, finely shred the meat and transfer it to a large bowl. Toss the shredded meat with 1/8 to 1/4 cup of the reserved roasting juices and barbecue sauce to taste.

MAKE AHEAD The smoked pork shoulder can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight. Break the pork into 4-inch pieces and bring to room temperature. Arrange the pork in a roasting pan, drizzle with 1/2 cup of water, cover with foil and rewarm in a 425° oven before shredding.

South Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce

  • 1/2 cup reserved roasting juices (with additional chicken stock, as needed, for consistency)
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar (I substituted red wine vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
  • sriracha, or other hot sauce, to taste
  • 1/2 cup yellow mustardIMG_3851
  1. In a medium bowl, (or in the roasting pan) combine roasting juices with wine vinegar and cider vinegar. Add dark brown sugar and sweet smoked paprika, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Stir in yellow mustard. Simmer over moderate heat for 30 minutes, until thickened slightly. Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce.

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