Pork Ragú Country Cottage Pie
There’s not much about a crispy mash topping and a saucy ragu below that’s not to love. This Italian countryside version of this classic dish will become a favourite.
- Serves: 6-8 |
- Difficulty: moderate
- Prep Time : 30 mins |
- Cook Time : 30 mins
oil for frying
2 pork hocks (700-800 g each), skin removed and meat cut off the bones into chunks – keep the bones.
200 g streaky bacon, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 large celery stalk, diced
1 Tbsp (15 ml) tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 C (250 ml) red wine
1 x 410 g tin of chopped tomato
1 C (250 ml) tomato passata
20 g fresh basil, chopped
2 medium sprigs of rosemary, picked
2 Tbsp (30 ml) dried oregano
200 g button mushrooms, quartered
20 g flat-leaf parsley, chopped
½ C (125 ml) grated Parmesan cheese
100 g butter
1 kg potatoes, peeled and diced
½ C (125 ml) milk
2 egg yolks
salt and pepper
50 g finely grated Parmesan cheese
Set a large Dutch oven or oven-proof pot over medium-high heat and add a splash of oil. Season the pork with salt and pepper then fry it in batches to sear and caramelise the exterior. Do not crowd the pot with too much meat. Set the meat aside.
Preheat the oven to 160 ºC.
Add the bacon to the pot and fry. Add the onion, carrot and celery to the pot with the bacon and fry until the veggies have softened and are starting to brown. Add the tomato paste to the pot and fry for 4 minutes to cook out and caramelise. Add the garlic and fry for a minute until fragrant. Add the wine to deglaze and bring to a boil to cook off the alcohol. Add the chopped tomato, passata, basil, rosemary and oregano and the meat and mix well to combine. Add the bones to the pot and bring it to the boil. Carefully place the pot into the oven with the lid on. Cook for 1 ½ hours.
At the 1 ½ hour mark, remove the lid and then continue cooking for another 1-1 ½ hours until the meat is starting to break apart. Remove the bones, add any remaining meat from the bones back to the pot. Stir in the parsley, Parmesan and butter and mix well to combine.
Place a medium-size saucepan, ¾ full with salted water over high heat. Add the potatoes and boil for about 15-20 minutes or until soft. Use a colander to drain well and then return the potatoes to the stove; reduce the heat to medium and allow the potatoes to steam for about 3 minutes. Lightly crush the potatoes in the pot with a large spoon to break down. Any remaining water will cook out during this process. Remove from the heat and add the butter and roughly mash to incorporate. Add the milk and mash until a smooth consistency is reached. Allow to cool slightly then add the egg yolks and mix well to combine.
Spoon the ragu into a 36×25 cm ovenproof dish. Scoop the mash into a piping bag with a large star nozzle and pipe the mash on top of the ragu. Once you have piped the entire surface, repeat with another layer on top so that you have a double layer of potato. Sprinkle the top with finely grated Parmesan cheese and then grill in the oven until golden. If the pork ragu filling is cold when you assemble the pie, then bake for 20-30 minutes before grilling to ensure that it is warmed through.
Tip: if you don’t have a piping bag, you can opt to spoon the potato on top of the ragu in dollops and then spread out evenly. Use a fork to create a pattern on top.
When golden, remove from the oven and serve.