Slow Cooker

Puerco Bravo (Braised Pork With Spicy Potatoes)

April  7, 2013
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 5 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This assertive main course works really well when prepared in a slow cooker, provided that the meat is browned first in hot fat. The inspiration is a Neapolitan-style ragu. The pork shoulder can be cooked as an entire piece or cut up into pieces of about 2 inches as for a stew. The Spanish riff comes in with the potatoes, which finish up almost like patatas bravas. You could serve the finished sauce separately over pasta, if you'd like. —pierino

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder
  • 1 large russet potato, cubed
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 24 ounces tomato purée*
  • 2 ounces salt pork cut into small dice (or substitute thick pancetta)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 to 2 jarred roasted red peppers ("piquillo" in Spain) (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup meat or poultry stock
  • 2 tablespoons lard or olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  1. In a large skillet heat the lard or oil to just short of smoking. Brown the meat on all sides, either whole or in chunks—your choice.** Transfer the meat to your slow cooker or braising pot.
  2. In the same pan you used for browning your pork, quickly sauté the garlic and onion. Add that mix to the pot followed by pepper flakes, roasted peppers if using, and bay leaves. Followed by assault and battery to your preference. (That would be salt and pepper.)
  3. Add the tomato purée, potatoes, and stock to your pot. For a good braise, the liquid should not quite cover the meat. In a slow cooker, set to low; this should now take about 5 hours. On the stovetop it should cook to completion in around 2 hours, but you will need to keep your eye on it.
  4. *I like to use Italian-style tomato purée, which is usually looser than the American style. My go-to bottled brand is Carmelina, which weighs in at 680 grams.
  5. **Served "ragu" style, the sauce could be used by itself over a pasta with the meat reserved as a course by itself.
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  • Melissa Bartell
    Melissa Bartell
  • Droplet
Standup commis flâneur, and food historian. Pierino's background is in Italian and Spanish cooking but of late he's focused on frozen desserts. He is now finishing his cookbook, MALAVIDA! Can it get worse? Yes, it can. Visit the Malavida Brass Knuckle cooking page at Facebook and your posts are welcome there.

2 Reviews

Melissa B. May 13, 2022
This was tasty, but I didn't follow the instructions exactly. First I crisped the salt pork in a dutch oven, then added the onion and garlic for a few minutes. Put the salt pork and onion mixture into a bowl. Then I added oil to the dutch oven to brown the pork shoulder. Once that was browned I set it on a plate. Dumped the potatoes into the dutch oven to coat with whatever fat was left in the pot. Then I added everything back to the pot, added the liquid, and simmered til the pork was tender, which took about 2.5 hours.
Droplet June 28, 2014
Pierino, just a minor clarification if you could, do the peppers go in whole, just for flavor?