We recently went to Chicago for an eating vacation, and we went to The Purple Pig for dinner one of the nights. Obviously they served lots of pork dishes, and when I ordered the pork neck gravy Lydia was a little apprehensive. When the terra cotta dish came out with the crispy bread and ricotta she was sold.
The pork had been braised down till it was just shredded pork happiness! I have been obsessed with it since our return. I figured pork neck might be a little difficult to find so I had to go to a couple of different places. I found it at our local large Asian market, Uwajimaya - they have all the odd bits.
I didn't feel like I could just have a big bowl of it by itself so we decided to make it a little more saucy and put it with some pasta, bucatini. It took all day, but it tasted super close to the Purple Pig's version!
Pork Neck Gravy
3.5# pork neck
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 sprigs fresh Thyme
3 cloves crushed garlic
3 cups light chicken stock
3 cups marinara
red pepper flakes to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large sauté pan, over high heat, add olive oil. Season pork necks with salt and pepper and sear in olive oil. Sear all sides of pork necks until golden brown. Place in crock pot or heavy bottomed sauce pot. Add garlic to pan and brown slightly. Add chicken stock to sauté pan to stop the cooking of garlic and deglaze pan. Add stock, garlic, thyme and marinara to pork necks. Bring to a simmer and cover. Cook for 5 to 6 hours or until pork is tender. Pull meat and bones from the pot and set aside.
Strain braising liquid and remove thyme stems and garlic. Skim off excess fat, return to pot. Pull meat and fat from bones and place meat in braising liquid and return to low heat for 1-2 hours until reduced to desired thickness. Season with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
Now you can add this to your favorite pasta as a sauce or reduce it all the way down to serve as a spread. We only went down to the pasta sauce consistency, but you can use it as you wish.