If you are fed up of spaghetti bolognese but fall back on it for it’s ease and versatility, then you need my Instant Pot Pork Ragu in your weekly cooking rotation.
Lean pork mince is surprisingly tasty (and frugal) if you haven’t used it yet and it carries flavours very well. The predominant flavours are from the fennel seeds and fresh basil. Fragrant aniseed flavours mixed with the garlic and the richness of tomatoes when pressure cooked is lipsmackingly delicious! Hungry Hubby certainly approves.
But apart from the taste, I wanted to talk about how great this recipe is for batch cooking and also for cooking from frozen in the Instant Pot.
I could not function in my life without having meals ready to go. My commute to work is an absolute bitch these days and if I’ve done a day’s graft plus been in the car for 5 hours, I am not standing at the stove to cook!
This is where my Instant Pot saves the day.
All I do is take a bag of still frozen ragu out of the freezer, run it under the hot tape to loosen then tip it straight into my inner pot. I swill the bag out with 2-3 tbsp of water and add that to the pot too. The only important thing to remember to do is to check your freezer bags are not wider than the inner pot’s internal dimensions and you’re laughing!
As the ragu thaws and reheats, it will sink and come into contact with the bottom of the pot. If you use Manual High for 15 minutes, it will come out roasting hot and perfectly cooked.
If you were to eat this Instant Pot Pork Ragu straight from the pot then you would probably want to reduce the sauce (done simply by turning the pot back on to Sauté for 10 minutes) but when making specifically to fill the freezer, leave it and the extra moisture will quickly thaw and provide the necessary liquid for the Instant Pot to come to pressure.
Not to mention that all the veg, especially the courgette provide extra moisture that helps with reheating from frozen too. Plus, there is at least as much speed veg, if not more than the minced pork so this qualifies as a one-pot dinner, complete with at least a third of a plate of speed vegetables!
Which makes it even better in my estimation, especially when the drive home from Leeds to Sheffield has been especially trying and I’ve not had time to eat more than a clementine or two. I can have a delicious dinner made in under half an hour (Hungry Hubby can cook the pasta on the stove) which I have a shower and get into comfy jammies.
Ahh, that’s better!
A slightly saucier version, served straight away after cooking
A richer thicker sauce, by reheating from frozen in the Instant Pot
1 courgette, diced
1 stick of celery, diced
1 leek, finely sliced
2 peppers, chopped as big or small as you like
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp fennel seeds, ground in a mortar and pestle
1 tsp dried oregano
500g 5% fat pork mince
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 tbsp tomato purée
2 x 400g canned tomatoes
2 handfuls of spinach, finely chopped
1 - 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
One cal oil spray, like Fry Light
- Put your Instant Pot onto sauté and spray liberally with one cal oil spray.
- Sauté the veg, adding one at a time so they have a chance to slightly soften and brown without overcrowding straight away.
- Add the garlic, herbs and mince, breaking it up, stirring until there is no raw pink meat remaining.
- Add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato purée, canned tomatoes and half a can of water. Again, stir very well then put the lid on, set the vent to Sealing and select Manual High for 15 minutes. NPR when the timer is done.
- Remove the lid and stir in the spinach and basil, taste for seasoning and add salt or pepper as liked. Serve! Or if you want a thicker sauce, put the pot back onto Sauté and allow it to reduce down to your liking before serving.
- You can add or change the veg used in this ragu as liked. Carrot, onions and a bulb of fennel are a good change for the courgette, celery and leek for instance.
- If making to freeze and not serve straight away, don't reduce the sauce at the end. You will need the extra liquid to reheat the ragu at a later date.
- To cook from frozen in your Instant Pot, simply add the frozen lump of ragu into the pot with 2-3 tbsp of water. Cook on Manual High for 15 mins and give it a good stir before serving.
- I like to tip in some frozen sweetcorn and garden peas when I reheat it because both me and Hungry Hubby love them in almost anything! You may have noticed that if you've been following EN&C for a while 😉
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Instant Pot Duck Ragu
Traditional Beef Lasagne