Friday, April 25, 2014

Pork Ragu - Pressure Cooker Style

I have been anxious to share this recipe with all of you. I held back sharing this recipe for a few weeks, because I was afraid that many of you would think "she's really gone into a pressure cooking phase-- and I don't have a pressure cooker"! Well, yes, it's true. After 15 years of pressure cooking, I've had a true revival for this misunderstood kitchen tool.

Maybe the word "pressure" makes people thing it's going to explode, and so it strikes terror into your cooking hearts?  What else would we call this? How about "Instant Slow Cooker"?  If you don't own a pressure cooker, but own a slow cooker, you can easily adapt this recipe. Or, go ahead and make this the more stove top conventional way. It'll be great. I'm serious.

So, what is a ragu? Very simple. In Italian cuisine, it's a meat-based sauce that is commonly served with pasta.  This recipe uses country style pork ribs.  Typically, this type of ragu would take a couple of hours to simmer (or slow roast in the oven) so that the meat becomes fall-apart tender.

 But, a pressure cooker can make this happen in 20 minutes. How cool is that?

These ribs didn't come boneless. No big.

With a good boning knife and a few extra minutes, these were cut into 1-inch pieces and seasoned with salt and pepper.

You can make this on the stove and then slow cook this. No problem. However, with my pressure cooker, I used the browning cycle to cook half the pork and lightly brown them. Next, chopped onions are added and cooked until softened, for about another 5 minutes.

To build flavor, I add plenty of fresh garlic, tomato paste, oregano and red pepper flakes and I cooked this for about 30 seconds. Last, and certainly not least, I added red wine, and simmered that until it's nearly evaporated. In goes crushed tomatoes and chicken broth...

...and the remaining pork.

If you're using a slow cooker, set it on low for 4-6 hours. If using a Dutch oven, simmer for about an hour or so.  Ah, but if using a pressure cooker-- lock the lid on, and pressure cook on medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Then, do a "natural release" for about 15 minutes.

Yeah, like that.  Using a large spoon, skim the excess fat from the surface of the sauce. Break the meat into bite-size pieces with a spoon. Then, bring the sauce to a simmer over medium high-heat and cook until slightly thickened-- about 5 minutes. Add some fresh chopped parsley, taste for seasoning (adjust with salt and pepper, to your liking) and serve.

I served this over tubular pasta.

TASTING NOTES:  Outstanding! Using pork, instead of beef, is a nice change of pace. The sauce is rich and hearty.  You can't taste the wine, but it definitely adds a nice balance of acidity and depth of flavor. The meat is super tender, the balance of garlic is perfection.  We froze the leftover ragu, and the second time around I spooned it over polenta-- which was out of this world!  Yeah. Polenta, that's definitely going to be our favorite way to enjoy this. My husband loved it, as did I. 

This recipe comes from this cookbook, by America's Test Kitchen.  I've made several recipes, and have been very happy with the results. This recipe, so far, is one of my favorites from the cookbook.
I've also created a new category under my "Recipes by Category" where I will start to provide the pressure cooker recipes I've made-- and there are many more to come.

Scroll down to see the printable recipe.

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Jeff said...

What do you do with the other half of the pork?

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

You have finally convinced me, Debby. I just have to decide on a model. You have made so many delicious dishes that take so little time. I'm hooked.

Debby Foodiewife said...

Jeff, it's funny how our eyes deceive us. I've done this before, reading a recipe and not seeing a direction right before me! Check again. I browned half the pork and added the remaining half into the sauce. Thanks for asking. You can always email me I always answer emails-- usually pretty fast.

Velva said...

Delightful! Love the term "Instant slow cooker". A good ragu is soulful. This looks amazing.


Big Dude said...

I hurt my wrist getting to the "read more" tab :-). This looks totally awesome and seems you are creating some converts.

Eva said...

This looks amazing. I've had a pressure cooker collecting dust in my cupboard for forever (a Christmas gift), but I think I'm gonna have to take it out for a spin to try this recipe.

Eva @ It Gets Butter

Bill said...

Anything with pork gets my attention and I love country style ribs. I'm also a big fan of the pressure cooker. I got an electric on for Christmas a couple of years ago and I'm loving it. This recipe looks SO delicious and I've got to try it. Great post, Debby!

Penny said...

IsolpireThis sounds delicious. I think a pressure cooker is in my future. Thanks Debby.

Penny said...

Sorry about that garbled response. It had something to do with not being able to read the code words. Hope you can figure out what I said. LOL.

Kate said...

Ok, you win. I will drag out the pressure cooker and see what I can do with it!

Debby Foodiewife said...

Sorry about the garbled words. I hate turning on Word Verification, but the trolls and spam was so out of control! Kate-- you will love pressure cooking! I'm telling you, it's a game changer.

Joanne said...

I don't have a pressure cooker but it's on my list of things to register for! So hopefully soon...

Carol said...

I saw this on Barbara Bakes blog and had to come take a look. This looks so much like a Sunday "gravy" my Nana used to make when I was growing up-but she would simmer hers for hours. The pressure cooker would save so much time cooking this.

Thanks so much for sharing you recipe...I'm looking forward to trying it.