Fantabulous Pressure Cooker Pork Ragu

So it seems like what was once old and outdated is now the newest thing in the cooking industry.  In the 70’s fondue pots were the next best thing. Then they faded away to nothing.  In the mid 2000’s they became popular again and restaurants opened up serving nothing but fondue-d food. In the 80’s the microwave was the thing to have then today we barely use it (yeah!). One thing that never really went away were crockpots.  If anything I’d say they are becoming more and more a part of our cooking lifestyle.  People are working more these days. I for one am in love with the crock pot.

The latest kitchen item to have are electric pressure cookers. In the 60’s and 70’s every home had one.  They were big, bulky and scary as can be!  There were no safety measures and more often than not people were getting burns from them. I for one can remember my Mom having one and that being the only item in the kitchen I was never ever allowed to touch or be near.  It’d hiss, spit out liquid or the lid would just blow off exploding food all over the walls.  So for years I had a huge fear of them. Then new technology came into play in the kitchen and the pressure cooker was a thing of the past.  Well not anymore.. THANKFULLY!  This is the HOTTEST kitchen must have! Why do I say that?

Pork Ragu2

This is why I say that!


I mean seriously look how amazing this looks (as she toots her own horn here!). Now I’ve made this a bunch of times in the oven but it takes a couple of hours as it’s a slow roast.  The outcome is the same great flavor. And even in the crock pot I’ve made this but that takes about 6 hours on low. But this, cooking in a pressure cooker was a first for me.

Remember the All-Clad Factory Sale that they just had this past June? Well they had the Emeril by T-fal CY400052 Nonstick Dishwasher Safe Electric Pressure Cooker, 6-Quart there for $49! I told you that sale is insane!  Before I go any further I should explain that T-Fal and Emmerilware is a sister company of All-Clad; just like Krups.  So all that stuff is there.  While I was at the sale I kept looking at this thing and even put it in my cart to ‘go for a ride’. Meaning I would walk around with it as I shopped. If I wanted it I’d buy it but if I didn’t I’d put it back.  I just didn’t want to not put one in my cart and then realize I wanted one only to find they sold out.  Now since I had zero knowledge about pressure cooking I did some research online about this (yes while at the sale! Don’t you just love smart phones?!). This particular one was rated really high and got rave reviews.  My next look was to see what exactly I can make it a pressure cooker as I genuinely had no clue.  Okay seriously I was floored by what all you can make in it!  I mean seriously! All those years of missing out on pressure cooking!

Pork Ragu6

The first dish I made with it were BBQ babyback ribs.  Okay seriously fall off the bone ribs in 20 minutes?  Are you freaking kidding me?!  Dude!  No really… DUDE! This thing is amazing!  Do you currently have one?  If not then I’m telling you get this one as you will not regret it!  Now I’ll be honest the instruction manual is lacking to say the least but if you have questions about it – cleaning, locking and so forth please let me know.  I will be more than happy to help!

Since the ribs were a huge success I decided to take one of my stand by dishes, Pork Ragu, and see how I could make it in there.  I went out and bought a Pressure Cooker Cooking book and fell in love with it. Their recipe for Pork Ragu is really similar to mine but theirs cooks a bajillion times faster. Have you ever had a true ragu sauce before?  No I’m not talking about that jarred spaghetti stuff either.

In the northern Italian regions, a ragù is typically a sauce of meat, often minced, chopped or ground, and cooked with sauteed vegetables in a liquid. The meats are varied and may include separately or in mixtures of beef, chicken, pork, duck, goose, lamb, mutton, veal, or game, as well as offal from any of the same. The liquids can be broth, stock, water, wine, milk, cream, or tomato, and often includes combinations of these. If tomatoes are included, they are typically limited in quantity relative to the meat. Characteristically, a ragù is a sauce of braised or stewed meat that may be flavored with tomato, to distinguish it from a tomato sauce that is flavored with the addition of meat. TYVM Wikipedia! LOL

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This dish was super simple to prepare as I pretty much started it the same way I always do when I either make it in the oven or the crock pot.  I browned half of the seasoned meat, sauteed the onions until soft and translucent, added in the garlic, red pepper flakes (trust me you want this in your dish.  It doesn’t really make it hot or spicy but gives it depth in flavor.  It adds character to it) and tomato paste.  When you cook this I tell you to cook it until you can ‘smell the tomato paste’ cooking. When you cook tomato paste in a pan (without liquid in it) it tends to enhance the flavor of it.  But you have to be super careful as it’ll burn really quickly.  Remember when you were little and they would say “Your nose knows?” well your nose will know when it’s done cooking.  Tomato paste starts out bright red, over medium high heat, then after a few minutes of stirring in the intense heat, it changes all at once to a darker color. The color change is important.  It enhances the flavor and makes it so rich.

Pork Ragu4

You should do that for any sauce you make with tomato paste in.  I do that for my marinara, pizza sauce, Italian gravy and so forth.  Trust me you will IMMEDIATELY taste the difference in the sauce that didn’t “fry the tomato paste” and one that did.  You’ll never have it “un-fried” again.  So after I fried my tomato paste I needed to deglaze the pot.  To deglaze means to dilute meat sediments in (a pan) in order to make a gravy or sauce. Traditionally this is done with wine but I had none on hand plus I’m not a huge fan of wine. In this dish you can use red or burgundy wine to deglaze. After about 2 minutes I let the mixture cook until most of the liquid had evaporated.

One evaporated I added in the rest of the ingredients, set my pressure cooker to high pressure and 20 minutes. Now the first time I used my machine I freaked out because I set it, hit start and nothing. The timer just sat there.  I assumed it was like a microwave and when you hit start it immediately starts to cook.  Well on a pressure cooker it doesn’t do this.  What’s the main purpose of this machine?  To use pressure to cook.  Well it has to build up pressure, right?  That’s why it wasn’t “cooking” right away.  It had to build up pressure. On this machine it took about 8 minutes to get to high pressure.

Once it did the countdown did.  Now the thing with this machine that I love.. it’s QUIET!  Like you don’t even know it’s cooking!  Plus also on a side note, it does not take up a lot of counter space.  It’s not small but it’s not exactly ginormous either.

Pork Ragu5

Now per this Pressure Cooker Cooking book they advised to shut off the machine and let it release pressure naturally. That took about 10 minutes or so.  Once the pressure was released I could then open up the lid.  This Emeril by T-fal CY400052 Nonstick Dishwasher Safe Electric Pressure Cooker, 6-Quart machine has safety features built in that if pressure is built up you cannot take the lid off.  BONUS! When I finally took the lid off and that smell hit me I was in honest to goodness love!  I mean such INTENSE smells.  But the true test would be just how tender was this pork.

But before I could taste it I wanted to skim off the excess fat at the top (country-style pork ribs will do that). Once the fat was gone I took a taste and seriously I could have kissed myself on my forehead for making something this amazing! I snuck out a piece of meat and it was ridiculously tender. Like we’re talking slow roasted 4 hours in the oven tender!  On this system I put it back to browning to bring it up to a boil to help thicken it up.

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What was nice as while this was cooking I cooked up a batch of rigatoni noodles and had them draining in the strainer. And you know what’s coming next… just like clockwork I heard the pitter patter of piggies coming up from the office to the kitchen hearing “sniff sniff sniiiiiiiiiiiiiiifffffffffff” down the hallway.  The smell permeated the house with the most intense food scents.  Of course Mr. Fantabulous asked if he could have some, if it was ready and what it was. LOL  I so love his priorities when it comes to food.  Almost never do I get “Hey what is that?’ first but rather “Can I have some?” is always first.

Now I was a bit reluctant to give him some as anything over noodles must be pasta sauce.  Now while this is a pasta sauce (of sorts) it’s not standard and you all know how he is about straying away from standard when it comes to cooking. Plus he’s also not a pork fan nor a ribs fan either. I mean he likes pork but only certain types of cuts.  And I know he does not like pork ribs (which is what I used) but I figured I’d give him some anyway.

like I had a choice either way as he stood there looking at me with those gorgeous hazel eyes, bowl in hand as if to say “Please Mum, may I have some more???” <blink blink flex muscles blink blink>

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So I plated us each some and he sat there asked for cheese on it (as it thought it was typical rigatoni and meat sauce).  I said “Just eat it without right now first” because cheese on this would be just gross.  He took one bite folks.  Just one bite, put his fork down and said “What did you do?  This is not spaghetti sauce.  What is the meat in here?” and did not pick up the fork.  Between my shovelfuls into my mouth and not making eye contact I mumbled “it’s not spaghetti sauce, it’s pork ragu. That meat is country-style boneless pork ribs.  I know it’s not traditional Italian Gravy and it has pork in it but I had to test out recipes on the machine. Do you not like it? Do you want me to make you something else?” I then put my fork down and looked up at him.  However what I saw shocked even me…

His bowl was EMPTY and he had the BIGGEST smile on his face.  I mean we’re talking I could see the white of the bowl again (I seriously think he licked the bowl). He then said “Wow honey that is absolutely amazing!  Whatever you did, do that again over and over.  That is freaking amazing!”… “…and are you going to finish yours???” <blink blink flexes muscles blink>

Men… so love that man!

So if you don’t have a pressure cooker I HIGHLY recommend the Emeril by T-fal CY400052 Nonstick Dishwasher Safe Electric Pressure Cooker, 6-Quart machine and this Pressure Cooker Cooking book as well!

Fantabulous Pressure Cooker Pork Ragu
 
Author: 
Find more fantabulous recipes, tips and tricks at www.thekitchenwhisperer.net. Also, join our TKW Family on Facebook
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs boneless country-style pork spare ribs cut into 1 1/2” cubes
  • 1 Tbl canola oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into small pieces
  • 1 Tbl garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 Tbl tomato paste
  • 3/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 28 ounces of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken stock (low sodium)
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, torn
Instructions
  1. In an Emeril by T-fal CY400052 Nonstick Dishwasher Safe Electric Pressure Cooker, 6-Quart set it to browning.
  2. Add in the oil.
  3. Pat the pork dry and season with salt and black pepper.
  4. When up to temperature for browning place half of the pork in the bottom of your pressure cooker (do not overcrowd).
  5. Brown on all sides ~6-8 minutes.
  6. Add in the onion and stir, cooking until the onion is soft and translucent. ~6 minutes.
  7. Add in the garlic, stir and cook for 1 minute.
  8. Add in the tomato paste, dried basil and red pepper flakes stirring to incorporate.
  9. Cook until you can ‘smell’ the tomato paste cooking. ~30-45 seconds. Make sure you stir this as to not burn it.
  10. Add in 1/2 cup of stock and stir gently scraping up the bits on the bottom of your pan with a wooden spoon or rubber tipped spatula.
  11. Cook for about 2 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  12. Add in the rest of the pork, chicken stock and crushed tomatoes.
  13. Place the lid on the pressure cooker, lock and set to High pressure, 20 minutes.
  14. When done immediately shut off the pressure cooker (do not let it go to warm) and allow to release naturally. ~15 minutes.
  15. Remove the lid and using a spoon carefully spoon off the fat at the top of the sauce.
  16. Next turn the pressure cooker back on and set it to browning as you want to thicken the sauce.
  17. Once your machine is up to temperature for browning cook for ~5-7 minutes or until thickened.
  18. Add in the parsley, torn basil and taste for seasoning.
  19. Serve over pasta.
Notes
I HIGHLY recommend this pressure cooker: Emeril by T-fal CY400052 Nonstick Dishwasher Safe Electric Pressure Cooker, 6-Quart

This Pressure Cooker Perfection book ROCKS (my recipe here is a mixture of mine and part of theirs on how to make it in the pressure cooker.

To make in the oven brown your meat in a dutch oven like the instructions and cook at 250 for about 3 hours or until fork tender.

To make in a crock pot, brown your meat and transfer everything to the crock. Cook on low for 7 hours.

 

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