Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Amazing Pasta Sauce - Smoked Pork Ragu-

One of my favourite meat shops in Vancouver is located on Commercial Drive- J N and Z Deli.  They are a long time East European deli serving customers the old fashioned way- right down to the brown paper wrap.  One of their most delicious products is store smoked pork hocks which they hang in their front window.  This meat adds amazing flavour to any dish.  At Doris' instigation, I prepared a smoked pork ragu to serve with your favourite pasta.
J N and Z Deli on Commercial Drive in Vancouver

 In Kelowna, smoked pork hocks are available at Illichmann's Meats on Gordon Drive.

This recipe will serve four generously.

(feel free to taste and adjust throughout the cooking time- measurements are approximate)

1    large smoked pork hock
1    large can tomatoes
1    cup red wine
1    cup water
1/2  onion, coarsely chopped
2    tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup dried tomatoes, chopped
1    roasted red pepper, diced
2    cups tomato sauce (preferable home made)
1/2  onion, finely diced
1    tbsp tomato paste
1    tbsp balsamic vinegar
1    tbsp dried oregano
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Rich ragu sauce with slowly simmered smoked pork hocks
In a medium to large saucepan, heat the olive oil, add the coarsely chopped onion and cook until translucent.  Add the canned tomatoes, red wine, water and the pork hock.  The liquids should cover half the meat.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer.  Simmer for approximately 2 hours, until the meat is tender and falling off the bone.  Stir occasionally and turn the meat over in the liquid.

Remove the pork hocks and set aside to cool.  Remove the saucepan from the heat and  let cool.  If you want to remove the fat from the sauce, place in the refrigerator overnight and remove the fat at the top of the sauce.  Otherwise, when cool enough, use an immersion blender to make your sauce base or put the sauce in a blender.  Return to the saucepan.  Turn the heat to simmer, add the dried tomatoes, roasted pepper, tomato sauce, onion, tomato paste, oregano and balsamic vinegar.  Meanwhile, remove the pork from the bone and slice roughly into medium pieces; add to the simmering sauce.  Taste your sauce and adjust your seasonings by adding more wine, vinegar, oregano.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve over your favourite noodles.

Replace the smoked pork hock with a pork shoulder roast.  Cook slowly as you would the pork hock, for approximately three-four hours (until the meat is fork tender).  Debone and "pull" the meat as you would for pulled pork.

Vary your seasonings by using thyme or sage or other favourite herb.  Or add dried chili pepper flakes.

I added homemade tomato sauce: slowly simmered down tomatoes, eggplant and onions (for at least two or three hours) then blended.  If you want, you could add wine to this sauce as well.

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