A versatile ragu

Marinade magic ... Pork and pea ragu.
Marinade magic ... Pork and pea ragu. Photo: William Meppem

The ragù tastes great with most meats, such as lamb, beef or chicken. Just adjust the cooking times. Serve it with soft polenta, rice or steamed potatoes. It's such a versatile dish, you can even serve it on noodles or gnocchi.


1.5kg pork shoulder, cut into 3cm pieces

Marinated pork cutlets with green papaya salad.
Marinated pork cutlets with green papaya salad. 

3 tbsp olive oil

1 brown onion, peeled, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 tbsp plain flour

500ml chicken stock


200ml tomato passata

1 cup frozen peas

grated parmesan, to serve


2 fresh bay leaves

6 juniper berries

6 black peppercorns

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

500ml cabernet sauvignon

1 medium brown onion, peeled, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

Serves 4

Mix all marinade ingredients together, add pork and refrigerate for eight hours.

Remove pork from marinade, drain and dry with a paper towel. Pass marinade through a fine sieve and reserve liquid.

Pour 2 tbsp of oil into a deep heavy-based saucepan and heat to high. Seal pork in batches and set aside.

Add remaining oil and reduce heat to low. Add onion, garlic and sea salt, and cook until softened (about 10 minutes).

Add tomato paste and cook for a few minutes. Add flour and stir for 3 minutes.

Slowly whisk in reserved marinade, making sure there are no lumps. Simmer for 5 minutes while stirring constantly.

Stir through stock and passata. Add pork and any juices. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for about 1 hour or until tender. Remove pork with a slotted spoon and reduce sauce to thicken slightly.

In a separate saucepan, cook peas in boiling salted water until tender. Strain peas and add to the ragù, along with pork. Add a grind of pepper and a splash of oil.

To serve, divide between four bowls and top with a sprinkle of parmesan.


2 stalks lemongrass, white parts only, finely chopped

1-2 fresh red chillies, chopped

1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for brushing

2 pork cutlets

papaya salad

1/2 green papaya, peeled, seeded and julienned

1 cup mint leaves

2 tbsp shallots, fried

2 tbsp whole cashew nuts, roasted

2 spring onions, julienned

100ml fish sauce

juice of 2 lemons

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 fresh long red chillies, finely chopped

Serves 2

Mix the lemongrass, chillies, rice wine, fish sauce and oil in a bowl to make a marinade.

Coat the pork cutlets in the marinade mixture, cover bowl with plastic film and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Heat a chargrill to hot and brush with a little oil. Cook the cutlets for about 4 minutes on each side depending on thickness, but be careful not to overcook.

Remove from the grill and place on a plate. Cover with foil and a couple of tea towels and rest for 10 minutes.

While the pork is resting, make the salad by combining all the ingredients.

Slice the pork on a chopping board and arrange on a plate. Scatter the salad over the top of the meat and serve.


* Any meat, in particular chicken or some lovely white flaky fish, can be marinated instead of the pork cutlets and served with the salad.



The fresh flavours of the cutlets are enhanced by 2013 Moorilla Muse gewürztraminer ($35) from Tasmania. Its subtle hint of lychees complements the flavours of the pork, while its intense aromas ensure the wine's character is not overpowered.

Photography by William Meppem. Food styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Nick Banbury