Using the diverse cultures and foods of Astoria, NY to feed one man's imagination in the kitchen.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pork ragu casserole with Tuscan bean crust

Today I finished a two day process of cooking down pork shoulder into a pork ragu sauce. Yesterday I slow roasted the shoulder with bones and rind, crushed tomatoes, garlic, onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves and olive oil. All in a lg roasting pan for 8 hours at 250. Today I shredded the meat, chopped the rind and discarded the bones. Back into the cleaned roasting pan with more olive oil, crushed tomatoes and a bottle of red wine. Salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes for basic seasoning. Slow roasted at 250 for another 6 hours. The result was dark, rich and succulent. All into freezer for future meal but saved 2 qts for a new idea.

After reading her blog and talking with Judy Witts about her new recipes and seasonal cooking in Tuscany I came up with this dish. Also inspired by the pork cassoulet we did last week that was such a hit.

Pork ragu casserole with Tuscan bean crust
-Basically a left overs dish. Be creative, it's really all about the dark rich meat in sauce and the creamy yet crusty topping.
2 qts prepared pork shoulder ragu in tomato sauce (or similar recipe)
2bs dried white beans. Cooked with bay leaf, garlic and olive oil till softened then drained.
- Save liquid and remaining beans for soup.

Mix beans with chopped garlic, olive oil, bread crumbs, chopped parsley, chopped sage or rosemary, lemon zest, salt and pepper. You want a moisted mix but not mushy broken beans.

In casserole dish coated with olive oil, lay in the pokr ragu and smooth down. Layer over the bean mix. Pat down and sprinkle over more bread crumbs for crust. Drizzle over olive oil.

Into a preheated 350F oven for 30 minutes or until crust is browned and bubbling.

I promise you will love this one. Hearty, rich, delicious.
Good one pot dish with little clean up.
Left over beans and liquid can be pureed and used as base for soup with chopped chard and chicken stock.

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