Ragout of Pork & Prunes

Ragout of Pork & Prunes

8 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, January/February 2009

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.

Ingredients 10 servings

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  • 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, (picnic or Boston-butt), trimmed and cut into 1- to 1½-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup minced shallots, (5-6 large)
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar, or red-wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme, or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
  • 1½ cups reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 2 cups large pitted prunes
  • 1 cup tawny port, (see Note)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Season pork with ½ 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 1½ 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 ½ teaspoon salt into the sauce and heat through, about 1 minute.
  • 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 information

  • Serving size: about ⅔ cup
  • Per serving: 314 calories; 13 g fat(4 g sat); 3 g fiber; 30 g carbohydrates; 14 g protein; 7 mcg folate; 53 mg cholesterol; 17 g sugars; 1 g added sugars; 506 IU vitamin A; 2 mg vitamin C; 40 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 333 mg sodium; 508 mg potassium
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 2
  • Exchanges: 1 fruit, ½ other carbohydrates, 4 lean meat, 1 fat

Reviews 8

November 15, 2017
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By: jmasson
This was a bit of a bummer for me. The previous reviews were enough to convince me to make this. It was way too sweet, almost like candy, and I like the whole fruit with meat combo a lot, so I was surprised. It also needs a lot more seasoning (salt) at the beginning. I won't make again bit think it could be a jump off for something that may suit my taste better.
October 03, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
Even Better the Next Day Made this almost exactly as written except I substituted Madeira for the Port since that's what I had on hand. It was very good the first night but the leftovers were even better. I think this is one of those dishes that benefits from being cooked, refrigerated for a day then reheated. I've served it over pasta but its even better over soft polenta. This one is a keeper.
February 03, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Richly flavoured yet simple This has rapidly become my favourite pork recipe. It is simple to prepare and forgiving if you have to make substitutions. For instance, I've made it twice with red vermouth instead of port for equally delicious results. I usually buy Pork Blade steaks and trim as much fat off them as I can before browning them which left me with no fat to skim. I also chop up my prunes and let them soak in the Port/Vermouth/Sherry while the stew is in the oven - this speeds up the disintegration and lets the flavour develop. I also do not use the corn starch thickener as I find that the disintegrated prunes thicken the stew nicely. I serve it in a bowl over brown and wild rice.
January 20, 2013
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By: nhunter
I served this to some friends last night accompanied by the Citrus Salad with Olives and Radicchio and the Cardamom Butter Carrots (thanks, ymatsuda!) It really was fantastic and I received many compliments. I recommend using port as specified, but buy the cheapest bottle you can find (I found a bottle of Taylor Tawny for about $5). I prepared the dish the day before, which was very convenient, and, in step 5, I baked the pork for two hours because after 1 & 1/2 hours it still didn't seem very tender. As a result, the next day when it came time to warm it up for serving, the pork was super tender, the prunes were only just holding together, and the sauce needed no reduction. In other words: perfection! I will definitely be making this again!
July 15, 2012
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By: EatingWell User
Gotta try this! I made this exactly as the recipe calls for. My family loved it. The only changes I would make would be to cut the prunes into small bite size pieces so they melt into the sauce a little more. The flavor the prunes impart to the dish is deep, sweet and blends excellently with the port. I served with rice but can't wait to try with other side dishes.
October 17, 2010
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By: yuki
Wow, this dish was delicious! I served with some rice and roasted carrots (the recipe with cardamon on this web). I didn't have port wine so I substituted with half Marsala wine and half apple juice. I'm sure it made the dish a little different flavor than the recipe intended for but the outcome was great. I'll make sure to buy some port wine next time I make this recipe though.
July 28, 2010
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By: jeh255
This is the recipe that hooked me on "Eatingwell". I made this a few times last winter. It is delicious bistro food. I agree that it is in the OMG category. I could eat it over and over, and the leftovers just get better everyday until they are unfortunately gone. I served it over the smooth polenta recipe that I got here online. I've also made that polenta recipe many times to accompany this pork and also with many other meals when I would normally have used potatoes. The flavors in this pork were everything I thought they would be. I like prunes but they are often still a source of schoolboy giggles for many people. Things are easier for the prune since they have taken on the new name of dried plum, but using them in a main dish was still a bit of a surprise for some of my guests. I have to say that the flavor they add was terrific and habit forming. The combination of ingredients and the slow cooking make this exotic and comforting at the same time.
January 16, 2010
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By: Mel West
This recipe takes a little bit of work, but man is it worth it. Just follow the recipe exactly and you will not be disappointed. This recipe is going straight to my OMG cookbook.
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