Moroccan-Flavored Pork Ragu – (Ragu is an Italian term for meat-based sauce)
- 2 lemons
- 2 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 teaspoons paprika, preferably Hungarian
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, plus 1 pinch, divided
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless pork chops, (1 inch thick), trimmed of fat, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup butternut squash, diced (1/2-inch dice)
- 1 cup carrots, sliced (1/2 inch thick)
- 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons preserved lemon, chopped rinsed, (see Note; optional)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco
- 1 Pinch ground cinnamon
- 1 Pinch ground allspice
- Zest and juice the lemon(s) to get 1 tablespoon zest and 2 tablespoons juice; reserve the zest. Combine the juice, 1/2 teaspoon oil, paprika, turmeric, coriander, cumin, pepper and 1/4 teaspoon ginger in a medium bowl. Add pork; stir to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
- Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook, stirring, until no longer pink on the outside and beginning to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate.
- Add broth, squash, carrots, chickpeas, onion, tomatoes, preserved lemon (if using), tomato paste, garlic, hot sauce, cinnamon, allspice, the reserved lemon zest and the remaining pinch of ginger to the pan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally; reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in the pork, return to a simmer and cook, stirring, until the pork is just cooked through, 2 to 5 minutes more.
Tonight, I’m serving over couscous, with a fresh garden salad and fruit compote.
Note: Although entirely optional, preserved lemons make this ragu more authentic. A signature flavor in Moroccan dishes, lemons that are preserved in a salt-lemon juice mixture for at least 30 days have a salty, sweet taste and tender texture. Find them at specialty food stores or online at surlatable.com.