Ragout of Pork & Prunes

Ragout of Pork & Prunes

Pork shoulder is an inexpensive and juicy cut that lends itself to roasting, grilling and braising. Here it's paired with prunes, which is a natural marriage of flavors, but you can also use butternut squash combined with a few dried apricots. Serve with polenta and roasted carrots.

From EatingWell: January/February 2009
Yield: 10 servings, about 2/3 cup each
Active Time: 75
Total Time: 180


  1. 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, (picnic or Boston-butt), trimmed and cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces
  2. 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  3. Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  4. 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  5. 1 tablespoon butter
  6. 1 cup minced shallots, (5-6 large)
  7. 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  8. 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  9. 1/4 cup sherry vinegar, or red-wine vinegar
  10. 1 teaspoon dry thyme, or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
  11. 1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
  12. 2 cups large pitted prunes
  13. 1 cup tawny port, (see Note)
  14. 2 tablespoons water
  15. 2 teaspoons cornstarch


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Season pork with 1/2 teaspoon salt and plenty of pepper.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil and butter in a large, heavy casserole or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the pork in batches (do not crowd the pot) and cook until browned on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes per batch. Remove to a large plate.
  4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pot. Add shallots and ginger and cook, stirring, until soft and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add brown sugar, vinegar and thyme. Bring to a simmer and immediately add broth. Return the pork to the pot and cover with a tight-fitting lid.
  5. Transfer the pot to the oven and bake until the pork is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven, uncover and let stand for about 15 minutes.
  6. While the stew stands, combine prunes and port in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Skim or blot any visible fat from the stew. Stir in the prunes and port. Return the pot to the stove and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
  7. Combine water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Transfer the pork and prunes to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Return the sauce to a simmer. Stir in the cornstarch mixture a little at a time, stirring and adding more as needed, until the sauce just coats the spoon. Stir the pork, prunes and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt into the sauce and heat through, about 1 minute.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 6; let cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Finish with Step 7 just before serving.
  • Note: Port is a sweet fortified wine that provides depth of flavor in cooking. Tawny port is aged in oak, turning it brown (as opposed to dark-red ruby port). Look for it in your wine or liquor store.


Nutrition Per Serving: 314 calories; 13 g fat (4 g sat, 6 g mono); 53 mg cholesterol; 30 g carbohydrates; 14 g protein; 3 g fiber; 333 mg sodium; 508 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Zinc (27% daily value), Potassium (19% dv), Iron (15% dv).

2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 1 fruit, 1/2 carbohydrates (other), 4 lean meat, 1 fat