It feels like a while since I have invited you into my kitchen, where I juggle the joys and challenges of motherhood while creating delicious recipes. It seems like a switch has been flipped of late and the amount of food my four energetic boys require, seems to be taken to the next level. Hungry, hungry boys arrive home each afternoon – and no snack seems to impact their appetite for the evening meal.
At least the cooler weather allows for me to increase the number of slow-cooked, one-pot wonders, I can add into the meal rotations. This Pork and Fennel Ragu is a comforting Italian-inspired dish that will warm your heart and tantalize your taste buds. Paired with creamy polenta, it’s a meal that brings everyone together. So, let’s dive into the recipe and create something truly special!
Recipe: Pork, fennel and crispy sage ragu
1.2kg Pork Scotch Roast
1 tsp ground fennel or fennel seeds
6 pancetta slices, thinly sliced
200ml red wine or chicken stock
1 tbs olive oil
1 brown onion, thinly sliced
2 x 400g cans cherry tomatoes
1 carrot, peeled, finely chopped
1 small fennel, thinly sliced, fronds reserved
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbs finely chopped sage
2 cups (500ml) milk
1 1/2 cups (250g) polenta (cornmeal)
1 cup (80g) finely grated parmesan
50g butter, chopped
2 cups (500ml) chicken stock
Step 1: A Flavorsome Start
As a busy mum, I love recipes that are both delicious and convenient. Begin by placing the pork and ground fennel or fennel seeds in a large bowl. Toss them together, ensuring the pork is evenly coated.
Step 2: Building Layers of Flavor
Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook it for 5-6 minutes, turning occasionally, until it’s nicely browned on all sides. Transfer the browned pork to a plate, and in the same pan, cook the sliced pancetta until it turns crispy and golden.
Return the pork to the pan and pour in the red wine or chicken stock. Let it come to a boil, and then remove it from the heat.
Step 3: Slow-Cooking Magic
Now it’s time to let the flavours meld together. In your trusty slow cooker or oven proof dish, combine the cherry tomatoes, onion, carrot, sliced fennel, garlic, sage, and the pork mixture. Cover it and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low (or 4hrs at 160 degrees), until the pork is melt-in-your-mouth tender.
Once cooked, transfer the pork to a plate and use two forks to coarsely shred it. Return the shredded pork to the tomato mixture in the slow cooker and give it a good stir. Let the ragu simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes on high heat until it thickens slightly.
Step 4: Creamy Polenta Perfection
While the ragu simmers away, let’s prepare the creamy polenta to accompany it. In a large saucepan, bring the chicken stock, milk, and 2 cups (500ml) of water to a boil. Gradually add the polenta in a thin, steady stream, whisking constantly to avoid any lumps.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue stirring the polenta with a wooden spoon for 4-5 minutes, until it thickens beautifully. Take the saucepan off the heat and stir in the grated parmesan and chopped butter until they melt and blend perfectly.
Step 5: Bringing It All
Have you ever whipped up a recipe from my blog? I would love for you to let me know…So I don’t feel as if I am just writing all this stuff down for nothing… If you choose to whip up one of my recipes , then I would love for you to share it on social media, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #goodfoodweek.