Pork. Not something I cook often. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I cooked it. Maybe a bit of mince in a spag bol or a chop to appease Mr Picky Palette’s demands for a taste of his youth. But here I go – pushing my culinary boundaries.
I confess to being a little bit confronted by the 1.5kg of pork shoulder, on the bone, which I purchased from my local meat man. I was a little bit overwhelmed by that kind of porky smell that pork has (funny that!). Fortunately, the recipe I had chosen to make, Katie Quinn Davies Slow-roasted pork & red wine ragu with pappardelle from the March 2013 issue of delicious. magazine, required very little preparation. A good season with salt and pepper. Pop it on a rack. Underneath, in a roasting tray, place a couple of roughly chopped onions, a whole head of peeled garlic, a cup of water and half a bottle of red wine (preferably shiraz). It then goes into a slow oven (140 degrees celcius) for six hours!
This is a recipe you definately want to get started first thing in the morning if you want to eat your dinner sometime before midnight!
After four hours of cooking, the recipe asks you to put eight large roma tomatoes onto a separate tray in the oven with the pork. My little oven wouldn’t fit another tray so I just added them to the onions and garlic underneath the pork. No harm done. One less tray to wash up though! Win!
I was surprised by how crispy the outside of the pork got even from being cooked at a very low heat. Not sure if this was supposed to happen. Fortunately, a special friend of mine (hello Leo!) had coincidently cooked this same recipe the day before me, so a quick text to her to find out that she too had ended up with crispy pork. Good.
When the six hours is up, everything comes out of the oven.
The tomatoes, onion and garlic get blitzed in a food processor along with the basil (which I didn’t have – oops! I replaced it with a handful of parsley.) I admit that basil would have tasted better though. Tomato and basil are meant to be together! This tomatoey mixture then goes into a clean saucepan with two tins of canned tomatoes, a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, the zest of one lemon, two tablespoons of chopped oregano (from the garden of course!) and the other half of the bottle of wine. It gets simmered for 45 minutes until the sauce is thick.
Once the shoulder of pork is cool enough to handle, shred the meat and discard any skin, fat or bones. I also put aside any meat that was too crispy for a sneaky treat for Mr Picky Palette later. Best wife ever, right?
Once the sauce is nice and thick, all the pork goes into the saucepan for a few minutes to heat through.
The recipe called for packet pappardelle. You know me. I made my own pasta using my fool-proof Jamie Oliver basic egg pasta recipe which I’ve shared with you before. There is something about fresh pasta. It just tastes so much better. Do it! Do it! Do it!
Once you’ve cooked the pasta, stir it through the sauce and serve it up with freshly grated parmesan. Delicious!
But you know the whole time I was shredding the pork all I could think of was crusty bread and creamy coleslaw.
Note to self: next time one decides to spend the whole day with the oven on roasting a shoulder of pork, save some for a sandwich!
P.S I lied – I actually have cooked pork before. I just remembered. I roasted a ham last Christmas and the one before that. Obviously not memorable!
slow-roasted pork & red wine ragu with pappardelle
delicious. magazine, (Mar 2013, p. 94)
2 onions, quartered
1 garlic bulb, cloves separated, peeled
1.5kg pork shoulder (bone in)
Olive oil, to drizzle
750ml bottle shiraz
8 large roma tomatoes, halved
1 cup (80g) basil leaves
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tbs finely grated lemon rind
2 tbs chopped oregano leaves
600g pappardelle* MAKE YOUR OWN! YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO!
Grated parmesan, to serve
Preheat the oven to 140 degrees celcius.
Scatter the onion and garlic over the base of a large roasting pan. Sit a roasting rack over vegetables and place the pork on the rack. Season well with sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and drizzle liberally with olive oil. Pour half of the wine (375ml) and 1 cup (250ml) of water into the base of the pan, over the onion and garlic.
Slow-roast for 6 hours, checking every hour to make sure that the liquid doesn’t fully evaporate (if necessary, add extra water to the pan). I needed to a couple of times.
Place the tomatoes on a baking tray, then season and drizzle with olive oil. Roast with the pork for the final 2 hours of cooking time.
Remove roasting pan and tomatoes from the oven. Place the tomatoes, onion and garlic cloves in a blender, along with the basil. Whiz until a smooth sauce. Place tomato sauce in a large saucepan, along with canned tomatoes, vinegar, lemon zest, oregano and remaining 375ml wine. Season and simmer over medium-low heat for 45 minutes or until well reduced.
Shred the pork, discarding the skin, fat and bones. Add the meat to the saucepan and cook for a further 15 minutes or until reduced and thick.
Meanwhile, cook pappardelle according to packet instructions. Drain and divide pasta among serving bowls. Ladle pork over pasta and scatter with parmesan before serving.