¡hot plate! pork ragu w/ polenta

24 May

Last week I wrote a post on the 10 things you need in your kitchen to be a great cook. Okay, so what do you do with all that stuff once you have it? Well I’ve noticed many of my favorite recipes follow a similar cooking pattern; this ragu recipe from The Parsley Thief is the latest example of how a few basic steps can add up to make culinary magic:

Step 1: Brown your meat. The recipe called for beef short ribs, but I went for pork shoulder. (Several vendors from the farmer’s market recommended it as a good alternative because it has a similar amount of fat as the beef short ribs.)

Braised pork shoulder

This pig's shrugging days are so over.

Step 2: Sautee some veggies. See all the yummy flavor bits the meat left behind? So important. Plus when my pots get all messy like this it makes me feel like a real cook in the way I imagine Tim “The Toolman” Taylor felt like a real mechanic whenever there were grease and wrench heads strewn all over his garage.

If this came with audio, I would be doing a self-satisfied Tim Taylor kitchen grunt in this shot.

Step 3: Add some saucy stuff, throw the meat back in and chillax. The best part about these kinds of recipes is that once everything’s in the pot, you get to just walk away and let it cook itself while taking complete credit for how good it’s going to turn out.

Its last words were "Be inspired."

Step 4: Take care of any finishing touches. This includes things like adding time-, flavor- or temperature-sensitive ingredients (i.e., herbs that would burn if added earlier ) and mercilessly tearing your meat into bite-sized shreds.

Puree sauce, shred pork, get way too excited about the delicious ragu smell filling your house.

Step 5: Serve. You can eat your ragu over polenta, pasta, gnocchi–or just ravenously devour cold it straight out of the Tupperware. (Not that I would know. … Okay, I totally know.) Either way, you want to make your leftovers last as long as humanly possible, because this is one dish that gets even better with age–I had my last bowl of this over a week after I originally made it, and it was twice as amazing as I remembered.

Mangia mangia!*

*Note: Photo from The Parsley Thief. Her pic was just way better than mine (even though it’s beef). UGH, fine. Here’s my pic:

No laughing at my runny sauce!

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