Every now and then you come across a recipe that makes you hold your fork over the plate, while you’re eating a bite, and you use the fork to point at the food while making those nummy noises…mmmmh…oh my…mmph mmph ahhh. Those noises. This Ragout of Pork with Drunken Prunes and Onions straight from the Spur of the Moment Cookbook is one of those recipes. Don’t get all worked up over prunes. What a delight they are when they are paired with pork. That’s a classic combination.
In this recipe from one of my faves, Perla Meyers, prunes have been marinating overnight in dry vermouth. Then pork is seasoned with fresh ginger, nutmeg and braised in a flavorful beef stock, creating a sauce that is sweet and spicy and peppery all at once. The prunes go in for about fifteen minutes, then the secret ingredients are added at the last minute to blow your mind when you take the first bite. And you take your fork and you point at your food and you start with the noises. Enjoy !
Ragout of Pork with Drunken Prunes and Onions
Adapted from Spur of the Moment Cookbook by Perla Meyers
The day before:
1-½ cup large prunes, pitted
¾ cup dry white wine, (I used vermouth)
Put prunes in bowl and pour wine over. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit overnight. It does not have to be refrigerated.
A couple of hours before you want to serve:
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 good swirl peanut oil
3-½- 4 lbs boneless pork shoulder (Boston Butt), cut into 1-½ inch pieces (trim as much fat off as you can
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ pound pearl onions, peeled
Large grating of fresh nutmeg
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp all purpose flour
2 cups beef stock
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
Preheat the oven to 375. Melt the butter together with the oil in large heavy skillet over medium heat. Sauté the pork in batches until nicely browned on all sides. Remove from the skillet, season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
Add the onions to the skillet and sauté until nicely browned. Return the pork to the skillet and add the nutmeg, ginger, and flour, and cook for a couple of minutes or until the onions are nicely glazed. Transfer to Dutch oven.
Drain the prunes, save the wine and add the wine to the skillet. Bring to boil, scraping the bottom of the pan until reduced to about 3 tablespoons and add the beef stock. Bring to boil and pour over pork. Cover and braise in the oven for about and hour and 30 minutes.
Add the prunes and cook again for 20 minutes. Remove the pork mixture and degrease the sauce as you wish. Put the pork mixture back in the pot and set over medium heat.
Combine the vinegar and sugar in small bowl. Add the vinegar mix and bring to boil.
Let thicken and serve with egg noodles.
The trick to this recipe is to use a larger than you need dutch oven. It cooks faster and thickens the sauce beautifully.