Ragout of Pork and Prunes
- 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, (picnic or Boston-butt), trimmed and cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup minced shallots, (5-6 large)
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar, or red-wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dry thyme, or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
- 1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
- 2 cups large pitted prunes
- 1 cup tawny port, (see Note)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
Preparation time 75mins
Cooking time 180mins
Adapted from eatingwell.com
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Season pork with 1/2 teaspoon salt and plenty of pepper.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil and butter in a large, heavy casserole or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the pork in batches (do not crowd the pot) and cook until browned on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes per batch. Remove to a large plate.
4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pot. Add shallots and ginger and cook, stirring, until soft and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add brown sugar, vinegar and thyme. Bring to a simmer and immediately add broth. Return the pork to the pot and cover with a tight-fitting lid.
5. Transfer the pot to the oven and bake until the pork is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven, uncover and let stand for about 15 minutes.
6. While the stew stands, combine prunes and port in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Skim or blot any visible fat from the stew. Stir in the prunes and port. Return the pot to the stove and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
7. Combine water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Transfer the pork and prunes to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Return the sauce to a simmer. Stir in the cornstarch mixture a little at a time, stirring and adding more as needed, until the sauce just coats the spoon. Stir the pork, prunes and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt into the sauce and heat through, about 1 minute.
TIPS & NOTES
Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 6; let cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Finish with Step 7 just before serving.
Note: Port is a sweet fortified wine that provides depth of flavor in cooking. Tawny port is aged in oak, turning it brown (as opposed to dark-red ruby port). Look for it in your wine or liquor store.