Thursday, 3 April 2014

Italian pork and pepper ragú

Italian pork and pepper raguLast time we were grocery shopping I picked up a couple of pork loins on special offer. They tend to be quite versatile: you can cook them whole in the oven or in a pan, or cut them into rounds for a stir fry, or into smaller pieces for a casserole. We had a packet of skinny sausages, which can be difficult to find. We intended to eat them as a treat on Mothers' Day, but Ms Fussy Eater asked if Hubby would make American style breakfast pancakes instead.

So, when I found a recipe in my new Australian Women's Weekly easy slow cooking recipe book for Italian pork and capsicum ragú, I thought I'd try modifying the ingredients slightly to suit what we already had available.

We prepared the ingredients on Sunday night. It didn't take too long: a bit of chopping and some browning of meat. The photo in the book looked pretty good and I was confident we were in for a hearty meal the next day.


Hubby trimmed one of the pork loins of all visible fat (he's very good at this - much more patient than I am). The recipe called for pork belly. We then browned the pork in a pan, with a little spray oil, in batches, and put it all into the bottom of the crock pot. Next, we browned the sausages in the same pan, and added these to the pork.

To the meat we added: 2 red peppers, sliced; 2 onions, chopped; a can of mixed beans; 6 cloves of garlic, crushed; a can of chopped tomatoes; a chicken stock cube; 1tbsp tomatoe puree; 1tsp dried oregano; 1/2 tsp chilli flakes. This was all mixed together and left in the fridge, covered, overnight.

Next morning the crock pot went on, at the low setting, before I left for work. By the time I came home, about 10 hours later, it was ready. We served it with some wholegrain pasta.

The Result

The ragú had a nice, rich tomato sauce. It wasn't too think, since I didn't add the water for the stock - just the stock cube. It was mildly spicey, from the crushed chilli, but not so much that anybody would notice. It just had a nice bit of heat - perfect for a wet Winter's day (which it was not, on Monday). The pork was perfectly cooked; tender, without falling apart. Likewise, the sausages were still intact. A very nice dish, which could have been served with rice or mashed potato, instead of the pasta.

This recipe made plenty. It easily fed 4 adults plus Ms Fussy Eater, with another two portions left over.

The Verdict

The teenager appeared to enjoy his meal, though he left behind the onions on his plate. Ms Fussy Eater was less than enthusiastic, although she did finish off her sausages. Both Hubby and I enjoyed the dish very much. It's probably more of a Winter dish, than a surprisingly sunny Spring evening.

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