Mention the words ‘Slow Cooked’ and you have my attention. I love how deliberate the cooking process becomes when you decide to slow cook. Slow cooking is not thrown together in the frantic last half hour before dinner time. Rather, it demands of you an exceptional degree of planning and purpose. Slow Cooking is the more charming and good looking, yet admittedly, the more inflexible and uncompromising cousin of Haste, he who defines meal production in the modern kitchen.
While regarding the butcher’s deft hands as he selects and prepares the perfect cut of meat, I am already imagining how the meal is going to look and taste on my plate hours later. But, there is no quick fix for an appetite for a slow cooked Ragu. Slow cooking by definition demands grace and patience from its cook.
There is absolutely no hurrying slow cooking. One does not attempt to motivate speed in these dishes much like one would not, however brittle your nerves, attempt to hasten an old lady counting out change at the checkout.
No my friends, once preparation on a dish like this Slow Cooked Pork Ragu is done, and you have closed the lid to your slow cooker, or as in my case, pulled the tie on the Wonderbag, this dish will offer you nothing but the unspoken expectation that you bide your time until you are invited to enjoy its final rewards.
There is the homemade pasta to prepare of course, but even doing that will not fill all the hours required for the pork to yield within its fragrant tomato sauce to the cooking process, rendering itself tender enough to be eaten only with a fork.
And yes, the pasta is required. Gorgeous folds of al dente homemade tagliatelle provide the perfect folds and twirls and turns in which the tomato sauce, now rich in flavour caught from the braising pork, can take refuge and hide from the liberal sprinkling of parmesan cheese, a final nod to the Italian heritage of this dish.
This Slow Cooked Pork Ragu is the most wonderfully uncomplicated, brutally delicious meal I have cooked this year. I cannot stress enough how much I want you to try it.
Do you share a deep appreciation for the slow cooking process? What are you slow cooking this winter? Let me know in the comments.
- Pork Ragu
- 10 ml (2 t) cumin seeds
- 10 ml (2 t) coriander seeds
- 1.2 kg deboned pork shoulder or similar, fat scored
- 30 ml (2 T) sunflower oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 leek, washed and thinly sliced
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 x 410 g cans whole peeled tomatoes
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Tagliatelle Pasta
- 200 g flour
- 2 eggs
- 2.5 ml (¼ t) salt
- 15 ml (1 T) olive oil
- To serve: grated parmesan cheese
- Pork Ragu
- Place the seeds in a dry frying pan and heat gently until toasted and fragrant.
- Finely crush the seeds in a mortar and pestle.
- Take half of the crushed seeds and rub them into the slits in the fat and over the exposed meat of the pork; leave to stand for 15 minutes.
- season the pork with salt and pepper.
- Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan.
- Brown the pork shoulder on all sides and set aside.
- Into the same saucepan add the onion, leek and carrot and cook over a gentle heat until the vegetables begin to soften.
- Add the remaining crushed seeds and the garlic and fry for a few minutes more.
- Add the tomatoes, stirring well to roughly break up the whole tomatoes.
- Bring the sauce to the boil and then lower the heat and simmer for ten minutes.
- Season to taste.
- Return the pork to the saucepan, cover with a lid and bring all the ingredients up to high heat.
- Place the saucepan into the Wonderbag and cook for 6 - 8 hours or until the pork is tender.
- Remove the pork from the saucepan and remove the fat.
- Use two forks to pull the pork into strands.
- Return the meat to the sauce and bring to the heat.
- Toss the slow cooked pork ragu with the cooked tagliatelle and serve immediately with grated parmesan cheese.
- To make the dough, place the flour, salt and oil into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to mix.
- Add the eggs and pulse until the mixtures comes together in a ball.
- Remove the dough from the processor and knead to smooth.
- Form into a ball, cover with cling film and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
- Roll the dough out according to the pasta machine instructions.
- Cut the rolled dough into tagliatelle.
- Bring a large saucepan of salty water to the boil.
- Add the tagliatelle and cook for 2 -3 minutes until al dente (firm to the bite)
- Drain well. .