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Rustic Chipotle and Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork Ragu

1 Apr

On a non-food related note, happy birthday to my wonderful mother!

Now, on to business … this is the last of the chipotle and Dr. Pepper shredded pork.  I’m sad to see it go.  It was a truly versatile dish and served as the backbone of several yummy meals this week.  Though the thought of a “Dr. Pepper Ragu” sounds a little weird, it worked wonderfully.  The pork maintained a slight sweetness that worked well with the flavors of the tomato but had a punch of peppery bite that really made this dish interesting.  This meal was extremely easy – basically, just throw everything in a pan and leave it alone to let the flavors develop.

Rustic Chipotle and Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork Ragu

1 box penne pasta, cooked according to package instructions and drained with 1 cup cooking liquid reserved (I used Barilla PLUS)

2 tbs. olive oil

1 tbs. Brummel & Brown

1 small onion, diced

2 ribs celery, chopped, with greens

1 carrot, peeled and chopped

4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

2 fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced

14 oz. canned crushed tomatoes

2 tbs. tomato paste

1/4 cup curly leaf parsley, roughly chopped

2 cups leftover chipotle and Dr. Pepper shredded pork

2 cups homemade chicken stock

1 cup 1% milk

1 tbs. balsamic vinegar

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

In a 10″ cast iron pan, heat olive oil and Brummel & Brown over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to low.  Add onion, celery, carrot, and garlic and sweat 8-10 minutes until onion is translucent.    Add tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, shredded pork, homemade chicken stock, milk, and balsamic vinegar.  Season with kosher salt and liberally with freshly cracked black pepper and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until flavors have melted and sauce is thickened, roughly 1 1/2 hours.

Add cooked pasta and reserved cooking liquid and toss thoroughly to combine.  Serve hot with Parmesan cheese.

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