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26 July 2006

Slow-Cooker Meaty Tomato Sauce with Pork


Slow-Cooker Meaty Tomato Sauce with Pork

Makes about 2 1/2 quarts

If you prefer a beefy sauce, three pounds of boneless chuck, cut into 1-inch pieces, can be substituted for the pork. This recipe makes enough for a hungry crowd or enough to freeze leftovers for later. It is substantial enough to serve with pasta and a crisp green salad for a complete meal.

3 pounds boneless country-style pork ribs , trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

Table salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions , chopped medium
12 cloves garlic , minced
1 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano leaves or 2 teaspoons dried
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

1. Dry the pork with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown half of the pork, about 10 minutes, then add to the slow cooker. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and repeat with 2 more teaspoons oil and the remaining pork.

2. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the empty skillet and heat over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 15 seconds. Stir in the wine and tomato paste, scraping up any browned bits. Simmer until the wine has reduced by half, about 3 minutes, then pour into the slow cooker.

3. Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes with their juice, the oregano, red pepper flakes, and bay leaves to the slow cooker. Cover and cook, on either low or high, until the meat is tender, 7 to 8 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high.

4. Let the sauce settle for 5 minutes, then use a wide spoon to skim the fat off the surface. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to break up the pieces of meat. Before tossing the sauce with cooked pasta, discard the bay leaves, stir in the parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To Make Ahead

The night before (or a day in advance), prepare the recipe through step 2. Instead of adding the ingredients to the slow cooker, refrigerate them, but be sure to store the browned meat in one container and the remaining ingredients in another container. In the morning, add the chilled ingredients to the slow cooker and proceed with step 3. The cooking time will run to the high end of the range given in the recipe.