So. Yesterday I shared my basic recipe for braised pulled pork. I started braising a basic, customizable pulled pork and stashing it into the freezer in one-pound portions about a year ago. Because the spice rub works with a variety of cuisines, I can pull out a pound or so at a time and toss together easy weeknight meals in just a fraction of the time. I’ve adapted a few recipes from their more time-consuming parent versions into fast, 45-minute or less versions and I’ll be sharing them with you over the next few weeks or months – basically, whenever I feel like it. As promised, today I’m going to share my adaptation for weeknight pulled pork ragu.
Pulled pork ragu is one of those deliciously comforting, slow-cooked hearty meals that warms you up from the inside out. It makes all the dreary wearies go away. The only drawback? It takes for-like-ever to cook. At least 4 hours. With pre-cooked pork butt or shoulder, though, it’s ready in just about 45 minutes, making it perfectly doable when you need a bit of savory comfort on a weeknight.
Weeknight Pulled Pork Ragu Recipe Notes
Make it Gluten-Free: serve over polenta or gluten-free pasta
Make it Paleo: serve over zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash
Make it Whole 30: substitute 2 tbsp tomato paste for the red wine (for richness)
Seasonal Sides for Weeknight Pulled Pork Ragu
Because no meal in this house is complete without a heaping side of vegetables, I almost alway serve this with a side. Traditional? No. Do I care? Nope.
In the spring, try it with a very simple side of broccoli rabe sautéed with garlic.
Come summertime, it’s a match made in heaven over zucchini noodles with a stone fruit salad.
For fall, try an arugula salad with shaved parmesan and balsamic vinaigrette. If you’re feeling fancy, throw in some pears and blue cheese too.
In the winter, pour it over roasted spaghetti squash and serve with a bitter green salad tossed with champagne vinaigrette, citrus slices (or pomegranate seeds) and ricotta salata.
- 2 tbsp butter, bacon fat, or fat of your choice
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
- 1 c. red wine
- 1 lb cooked pulled pork
- 1 large carrot, shredded or julienned
- 1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes, pureed until coarsely chopped
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 springs thyme
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- sea salt, to taste
- fresh cracked pepper, to taste
- Heat a large dutch oven over medium high. Add butter and heat until it foams and subsides (or heat other fat until shimmering). Add the onion to the fat and sauté, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 5-7 minutes.
- Add the garlic and sauté, stirring continuously, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Deglaze the pot with the red wine and cook until the wine stops bubbling.
- Add the pulled pork, carrots, diced tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf to the dutch oven and give everything a good stir.
- Reduce heat to medium low, then cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is a deep red, 20-25 minutes.
- Fish out the bay leaf and thyme and rosemary stems. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper if needed.
- Ladle over cooked pasta, polenta, spaghetti squash, or zucchini noodles.