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Shredded pork ragu on instant pot polenta in a bowl with a napkin and silverware
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4.45 from 9 votes

Shredded Pork Ragu

Tender, melt in your mouth pork bathed in a rich tomato sauce ladled over creamy polenta - comfort food doesn't get better than this! 
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6
Calories: 304kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 /12 pounds bone in pork shoulder or pork butt
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 brown onion cut into ½ inch dice
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ cup celery cut into ¼ inch dice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon ground sage
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 28 oz. can whole, peeled tomatoes in juice san marzano tomatoes are delicious in this
  • 1 cup dry red wine cabernet sauvignon or a merlot work really well

Instructions

To make the Pork Ragu:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • Cut the pork shoulder or butt into 3 or 4 pieces that will fit into your pot. Bot the meat dry with a paper towel. 
  • Heat a large (4 qt)  heavy bottom lidded dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. 
  • Add the olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the meat.
  • Let the meat cook for about 5 minutes or until the bottom is nicely browned and easily lifts off the bottom of the pan. If the meat sticks, it's not done searing yet!
  • Flip the meat over and sear the other side. 
  • Remove the meat from the pan and add the onions, garlic and celery.
  • Cook, stirring often for another 4 - 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent and the vegetables are tender. 
  • Add the salt, pepper, herbs and stir for another minute. 
  • Add the tomato paste. Stirring constantly for 3 - 4 minutes until the tomato paste is a dark reddish brown. Tomato paste can burn, so keep stirring!
  • Add the wine and stir, scraping up the bottom of the pot with a spatula. Cook until the wine is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. 
  • Add the tomatoes and their juices to the pot and stir. Add the meat. If the sauce doesn't cover the meat (it probably won't) spread some of the sauce on top of the meat. 
  • Cover the pan and place in the oven. Bake for approximately 2 hours or until the pork is very tender.
  • Remove the pan from the oven. Remove the pork and, using two forks, shred the pork meat.
  • Degrease the sauce by spooning the fat off the top. NOTE: If you refrigerate the sauce overnight, the fat will rise to the top and harden making it very easy to remove. 
  • Add the shredded pork back to the degreased sauce and stir to combine. Serve over the parmesan polenta, passing additional parmesan if desired.

Notes

NOTES:
  • SEARING: Blotting the meat dry with a paper towel helps the meat develop a nice brown crust so don't skip this step! 
  • BROWNING:   browning the tomato paste (known as pince′ in French) is a culinary technique used primarily with tomato paste. Allowing the paste to cook (and caramelizing the sugars) gives a much richer and deeper flavor to the finished dish. This is definitely another step not to skip!
  • WINE: For the red wine, choose a drier red - either a sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon or a merlot works well or a blend that is on the drier side. Definitely, don't use an expensive bottle but do use a wine you would enjoy drinking!
  • SERVING: Serve this ragu over pappardelle pasta or polenta! 
  • STORAGE: The ragu actually tastes better the day after it's made - really allowing the flavors to blend. Making the dish a day ahead also makes the degreasing much, much easier! 
  • FREEZING: The ragu freezes unbelievably well and is one of those dishes that is worth its weight in gold in your freezer. You can defrost it in the microwave or simply pop it into the fridge a day before you plan to serve it. Reheat the ragu in a pot on the stove with a lid. If the ragu seems a little dry, you can add a little water. 

Nutrition

Calories: 304kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 781mg | Potassium: 643mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 205IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 2.5mg