Thursday, December 22, 2011

Slow Cooker Pork Ragu

Ah, my crock pot. I have a love affair with my crock pot. It might seem weird to use a crock pot during the winter, I mean an oven would warm the house. Not to mention that an oven would produce far superior depth of flavor right? Wrong. The crock pot can be and is a wonderful tool spring, summer, fall and winter. It can caramelize with the best of them.

When I first came across this recipe I wasn’t sure that Baby Cakes would be interested in trying it but (once every two weeks I sit down and pull out all the recipes I ripped out of magazines and pick 3 or 4 of them to make the following two weeks and) this was handpicked by the hubs.

Now, how would I score this recipe? On a score of 1 to 10 I would give it a big fat 10, Baby Cakes gives it a 9.5. With all the holiday cooking this recipe has been an easy way to feed my little family.

Slow Cooker Pork Ragu
recipe adapted from

1 can whole tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup baby carrots, cleaned
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt and pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2 pounds pork shoulder
12 ounces pappardelle or other wide noodle
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

In a 5- to 6-qt slow cooker, combine the tomatoes, garlic, carrots, onion, chicken stock, oregano, brown sugar, cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Add the pork to the slow cooker and cook, covered, until the pork is cooked through and easily pulls apart, 6 to 8 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high.

Twenty minutes before serving, cook the pasta according to package directions. Using a fork, break the meat into smaller pieces, then stir it into its cooking liquid; fold in the parsley. Serve the pork over the pasta and sprinkle with the Parmesan.

Make it ahead: Freeze the ragu for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat in a large saucepan, covered, over medium heat, about 10 minutes (if it starts to dry out, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water or chicken broth).

I love it. Truly. It is wonderful. I know it doesn't look like much but this is one of those don't judge a book by it's cover recipes.

We froze half and ate the other. It will make a flavorful simple post holiday meal.


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