Pork Shoulder Ragu Over Spaghetti Squash

Braising Season is back, baby! So to celebrate, say hello to your new favorite Sunday dinner.

(It won’t say hi back, by the way, it’s a little shy.)

This is a good meal to make on the weekend because it does take a few hours. Braising meat is definitely not an exercise in instant gratification. But the investment is COMPLETELY worth it, and while it is not 100% “Set it and forget it” there is only minimal tending necessary. Totally manageable on a Sunday afternoon while you lounge on the couch with football on in the background. Your oven will do most of the work, your house will smell amazing all afternoon, and in the end after a stir or two on your part, you will be rewarded with tender caramelized deliciousness that you will want to eat right out of the pot.

But we are civilized, so we will eat it over spaghetti squash!

5.0 from 1 reviews

Pork Shoulder Ragu Over Spaghetti Squash
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4-6
 

Ingredients
  • 2.5 lb Pork Shoulder
  • 2.5 Tablespoons Salt
  • 1.5 Tablespoons Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Grass Fed Butter
  • 1 Cup Red Wine
  • 2 14 oz Cans Diced Tomatoes
  • 5 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 3 teaspoons Dried Oregano
  • 1.5 Tablespoons Fennel Seed
  • 1 Tablespoon of Hot Sauce (Trader Joe’s Hot Pepper Sauce is awesome!)
  • 1 Large Spaghetti Squash
  • Handful of chopped fresh parsley

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Add Olive Oil and Butter to large dutch oven and heat over medium high until butter is melted but not burning
  3. Liberally salt, pepper and garlic powder your pork shoulder.
  4. Add pork roast to pan and brown on all sides (This will take between 10 and 15 minutes to get a good crust going on your roast)
  5. Add wine to deglaze
  6. Add tomatoes, thyme, oregano, fennel seeds and hot sauce and bring to a boil
  7. Cover and put in the oven
  8. Braise for 3 hours, flipping roast over every hour
  9. About 30 minutes before your roast is done, prep your spaghetti squash
  10. Poke 8-10 holes around your raw spaghetti squash
  11. Put directly into the microwave (I put mine on a paper towel) and nuke for 8 minutes
  12. Flip Squash over and nuke for another 8-10 minutes depending on how large it is (big boys take longer!)
  13. When it’s done, remove from microwave (with pot holders it will be HOT!) and let cool for a few minutes
  14. When it’s cooler, slice down the squash long ways and remove all seeds
  15. Then run your fork down your squash and pull out your “noodles” into a separate bowl
  16. Toss squash noodles with a touch of butter, salt, pepper and garlic powder
  17. Add squash to your serving bowl, top with ragu and chopped fresh parsley and chow down!

It’s homey, comforting and even fit for entertaining should you be so inclined. And if I can make one last suggestion before you head off to procure ingredients, may I suggest serving it with that bottle of wine you opened earlier to cook with?

I mean, no one likes a waster.

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Porkapalooza — 15 Paleo Recipes For Those Who Love to Pig Out

The other white meat is surprisingly versatile and in my area, seemingly always on sale!  Here are some breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas to make you want to lick your chops and pan sear them too!

1. Pan Grilled Ginger Honey Pork Tenderloin (sub coconut aminos for soy sauce)
2. BBQ’d Pulled Pork (NOT in a crockpot)
3. Pork Fried Rice
4. Paleo Al Pastor Tacos
5. Pork Tenderloin with Cilantro Pesto
6. Garlic Crusted Pork Roast
7. Pork Adobo
8. Thai Caramel Pork
9. Whiskey Pulled Pork
10. Asian Pork Lettuce Wraps
11. 3 Olive Tapenade Pork Chops (use this tapenade recipe, the one in that post doesn’t work.)
12. Stovetop Pork Carnitas (I LOVE THESE – well as much as one can love a pork dish.)
13. Carmelized Italian Pork Chops with Sweet Onion Jam
14. Mediterranean Stuffed Pork Loin
15. Turnip and Pork Hash

Caramelized Italian Pork Chops with Sweet Onion Jam

Pork chops are such a fantastic blank slate and this is such a great way to spice them up. 

Like chicken breasts, they can be a bit bland and dry out easily, but with a few tweaks they can also be a superior weeknight supper. Seasoning and Steam are the keys here. 


I served these up with a salad and some simple roasted broccoli last night (toss broccoli with olive oil, garlic powder, salt + pepper at 400 degrees for 40 mins) and our mid-week dinner turned into quite the treat. 

Ingredients for two servings:

4 boneless pork loin chops sliced about an inch thick
2 Sweet Yellow Onions (or any onion, really)
Salt + Pepper
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder 
Italian Seasoning
Herbs de Provence
Fat of Your Choice
Balsamic Vinegar

For the pork chops:

Heat a pan over medium high and add your choice of fat (I used ghee here.  YUM.)
Liberally Season both sides of your chops with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. 
Drop them in the pan:
(I like to buy in bulk and butcher it myself just like my friend Sarah taught me.  Easy and cheap!)
Allow them to develop a nice brown crust (for about 5-7 minutes) then flip and repeat on the other side.  Don’t worry about them cooking all the way through, we are going for crispness and color here.
When they are dark and gorgeous, drop 1/8 cup of water in the center of the pan to do a little deglazing of all of those bits.  Then quickly cover and allow them to steam for 3-4 more minutes just until they are cooked through.  They will be crispy on the outside but still juicy on the inside.
 
For the Onion Jam:
Peel onion, cut in half, then thinly slice and throw into a pan heated on medium with a fat of your choice.
Toss them around and let them get nice and golden.  Patience is a virtue here.
When they get a little color on them toss in some salt, pepper and Herbs de Provence.  Herbs de Provence sounds so snooty — it isn’t, I promise.  It is worth procuring though, because it gives them a magical little kick — I think Giada taught me that.  She also taught me how to pronounce Limoncello.
Thanks Giada! 
So, now that we’ve cleared that up, once the onions begin to really caramelize (about 25-30 minutes in) drop in a tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar. No need to measure, you can’t screw this part up.
 

Allow the vinegar to reduce a bit (3-5 minutes) to make your onions nice and jammy. 

Top your chops with the jam and serve along your favorite vegetables.  Tons of delicious flavors, beautiful presentation, weeknight simplicity.  

Now that is something I can get behind!

Crock Pot Asian Pork Lettuce Wraps

One of the things I missed most when I first went Paleo was the ability to throw a chunk of meat in the crock pot, cover it in sauce, serve in on a freshly baked roll and call it dinner.  Most pre-made sauces are loaded with sugar and since I no longer eat anything on a bun, my crockpot gathered a bit of dust while I transitioned.  But when I rediscovered my love for lettuce wraps (HOLY MOSES those are good!) I busted out my crockpot again and sang love songs to it because it makes my weeknight life so much easier. 

After a few trials and tribulations, and some super disgusting dinners (which, HELLO, seem like an extra betrayal when they happen in the crockpot because you come home expecting dinner to be ready only to find out that you have to figure out a Plan B!)  I finally came up with a a combo of yummy flavors that has found its way into the regular rotation in our kitchen.  And a bonus, it gets Garrett to eat pork with a smile!  Although you could certainly substitute chicken in this dish and get great results.  

Asian Pork Lettuce Wraps  

For the chunk of meat
2-3 lbs of pork shoulder or any type of pork roast (or this would be super good with chicken thighs or chicken breasts)
Liberally salt and pepper and if you’re feeling really crazy throw in 3-4 smashed whole garlic cloves.  If you don’t feel crazy, just sprinkle on some garlic powder

For the sauce
Mix all of the following:
4 TBS Coconut Aminos (or Soy Sauce if that’s your bag)
2 TBS Almond Butter  (Peanut Butter would be fine too)
1 TBS Honey  (I eyeball it)
2 TBS Vinegar (I’ve used a bunch of different ones, just to get some acid in there)
2 tsp Sesame Oil
1 TBS Sriracha (or more if you are real spicy)
1/2 tsp of Black Pepper
1 TBS minced ginger  (dude, I totally used the jarred stuff sometimes, go for it!)

Recipe Steps
1.  Put prepared chunk of meat in crockpot
2.  Pour sauce over it
3.  Resist the urge to add more liquid (you will want to, don’t you worry you don’t have to)
4.  Set and forget  (well for about 4-6 hours at least on your low setting)

THIS, internet, is how I like my crock pot recipes.  Short, sweet and tasty!

When it is done cooking shred with a fork and serve atop your favorite lettuce and add the garnish of your choice.  Because I am usually lazy on the weeknights, I throw on some pre-shredded cabbage or broccoli slaw and slice up a bell pepper for some color and call it a day.  You could do any toppings you want — chopped peanuts, jicama, cilantro, shredded carrots.  And Garrett says don’t forget the extra hot sauce!  But that guy is crazy for heat, so take his advice with a grain of salt (and a glass of water!)

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