Pork shoulder Bolognese

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Francois Oberholster
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 with pasta
Cooking Time: 3½ hours
  • 125ml - olive oil
  • 1.5kg - pork shoulder, skin removed
  • 500g - bacon bits
  • 1 - onion, chopped
  • 1 - carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 8 - whole frozen plum tomatoes (thawed)
  • 4 - cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 250ml - quality red wine
  • 60ml - tomato paste
  • 15ml - sugar
  • 250ml - stock
  • 4 - sprigs thyme
  • 2 - bay leaves
  • 125ml - cream (optional)
  • - salt and pepper to taste
Serve with Parmesan and fresh basil over pasta.

1. Heat the oil and fry the pork until golden-brown all over. This step is optional but I believe it improves the flavour.

2. Remove the pork from the pan and fry the bacon in the same oil until browned. Stir in the onion and carrot and fry until glossy.

3. Preheat the oven. Cut a cross in the tomatoes and peel them. Stir the garlic and peeled tomatoes into the bacon and vegetables in the pan and heat. Stir in the wine and cook for 5 minutes.

4. Put the pork back into the pan, add the tomato paste, sugar, stock, thyme and bay leaves, then cover and bake in the oven for about 3 hours.

5. Pour the sauce into a small saucepan and let the meat rest for about 15 minutes. Reduce the sauce (with or without the cream) until thick. Pull the meat with two forks and remove the bone. Mix the meat through the sauce, season and serve with Parmesan and fresh basil over pasta. Or use as the meat layer in lasagne, or as a topping for a sumptuous baked potato. 

Tip: A large cut of meat on the bone needs longer in the oven. If time is short, ask your butcher to debone it and cut the meat into smaller pieces before you brown it; then follow the recipe as above and reduce the cooking time by 1 hour.

Know your cut: Pork shoulder

This is a tender, succulent cut with excellent flavour and juiciness. The shoulder contains more collagen and a small amount of marbling. It also contains bone, which can be removed by the butchery staff on demand. Shoulder can be roasted whole in the oven with the bone in or without bone, and with or without crackling.

It’s one of our favourite pork cuts to roast and many expert cooks swear by pork shoulder to make the ultimate pulled pork. Butchery staff can be requested to cut boneless shoulder steaks or shoulder chops (which will contain some bone) on demand. These are tasty on the braai, grilled in the oven or fried in a pan.

Freezing tips

Many vegetables and fruits – including tomatoes, pumpkin, berries and stone fruit – can be frozen raw.

Here’s how:

• Freeze the fruit in portion sizes that match your family’s eating habits and write the raw weight plus the date on which you freeze it on the freezer tub to ensure you use the oldest food first.

• Rather use containers for freezing instead of plastic bags that have to be thrown away after one use.

• Fruit such as apples, bananas and stone fruits may discolour if exposed to light for too long while you’re pitting and slicing. Sprinkle with lemon juice and work quickly!

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April 2023

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