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Pork and Fennel Ragout

A ragout (ragu) is essentially a stew with a European twist, and this one based on a recipe by the Food Network staff and slightly tweaked is quick and easy to prepare, and bursting with great flavors.  As with any good stew, soup or casserole this one just gets better after a night in the fridge.

1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons oregano
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound pork (see notes) cut into " cubes
cup chopped fresh parsley
cup olive oil
1 small to medium fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
1½ cups red wine
½ cup water

Combine the fennel, salt, oregano and peppers and set aside.

Toss the pork in a bowl along with the lemon juice and allow to marinate for about hour. In another bowl mix the lemon zest with half of the chopped parsley.

Heat a deep skillet of Dutch oven over medium-high heat and then add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.  

While the skillet is heating drain the pork (reserving the lemon juice), dry with a paper towel and toss with the remaining tablespoon of oil to coat the meat.  Add the ground herbs and toss to coat completely.

Brown the meat in batches just long enough to sear on all sides, and transfer to a plate.  Reduce the heat to medium and add the fennel bulb, red bell pepper. the remaining parsley and salt to taste and cook until the veggies soften, about 3-4 minutes.  Add the tomato paste and cook an additional 3 minutes stirring frequently.

Add the mushrooms, wine and water scraping any fond from the bottom of the skillet.  Cover and simmer until the fennel is tender, about 10-12 minutes,  Add the pork and butter and heat through while seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.  Prior to serving mix in the reserved lemon juice and the lemon zest and parsley mixture.

 Notes:

  1. I use chops or pork loin that has decent marbling.  I find the center cut chops to be too lean and a little tough for this type of dish.
  2. This can be served in a bowl as a traditional stew, but we prefer to thicken it with a Beurre Manie and served with pasta.

 

 

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