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Sublime Pork Ragu

As someone raised Jewishly, cooking pork did not come with the upbringing. However, I love pork’s delicate qualities and versatility as a protein. This dish is a big family favorite, and no matter how many pounds I make, it disappears rapidly. I use the combination of the Instant Pot to quickly cook the pork with all the flavors under pressure which helps this denser piece of meat to melt its connective fibers into a tender ragu. For serving purposes, this can be served over a bed of perfectly cooked pasta, or over brown rice, or over polenta, or for the paleo types, over cauliflower rice.


  1. 3-4 lb pork butt (the butt is actually the shoulder)
  2. 8 cups of chicken stock (preferably homemade)
  3. 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes (preferably san marzano)
  4. 3 bay leaves
  5. 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  6. 1.5 cups of chopped onion
  7. 6-8 cloves of crushed/minced garlic
  8. 1-2 carrots, diced
  9. 1-2 stalks of celery, diced
  10. 1 teaspoon sugar
  11. 1 parmesan rind
  12. 1-2 teaspoons dry oregano
  13. 1 teaspoon dry thyme
  14. 1/4-1/2 cup of breadcrumbs

Special Tools:

  1. Instant Pot
  2. Dutch Oven


  1. Season the pork butt with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
  2. Plug in the instant pot, and start by sauteeing the onion, carrot and celery until slightly softened. Add the crushed garlic and saute for another 30-60 seconds.
  3. Put the pork butt into the instant pot and add the chicken stock, crushed tomatoes, and herbs, so that the pork should be covered with liquid. Switch the instant pot setting to pressure cook on high, put on the lid to seal it and let it cook for 45 minutes untouched.
  4. After the cooking is over, let the instant pot sit for a while if you have the flexibility with time, so that the pressure is slowly released. If not, slowly vent the steam manually being careful not to get burned or to let too much steam out too rapidly (it will make a mess if it’s done too quickly).
  5. Open the lid gently once the seal is released, and use a ladle to skim off most of the liquid fat that has floated to the surface and discard or store for use in another recipe.
  6. With tongs, take the pork out and put it into the dutch oven. Remove the string from around the pork. Remove any still solid fat and discard (there is often a ribbon of fat along the outside edge of the pork). Use two forks to shred the meat. Shredding should be quite easy to do.
  7. Pour all of the braising liquid over the shredded pork. Add a parmesan rind and a spoonful of sugar and begin to slowly simmer the sauce uncovered.Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning/salt level if needed. To thicken the sauce without reducing it down too much, add breadcrumbs which gives a lovely texture without altering the flavor profile in any way. Let the sauce cook uncovered on the stovetop for at least an hour (or put the dutch oven in the oven and cook at 350 degrees for at least one hour).





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