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  • Writer's pictureHolly

End of winter? Pretty please.

Hello folks. Happy to end another snowy week here at the Porch Swing. After last year's snowpocalypse, we were much better prepared. Still - pretty hard slogging getting all the creatures situated. But the geese are the easy ones. They get a little extra kibble but that's it. They have a sweet spot under a cypress tree in addition to their goose house. Mostly, though, they just hunker down in the tall grass. They are often out swimming on the slushy pond bright and early in the morning.

They are not the most appreciative of creatures often. This is the approach - hissing and making a fuss. These guys have seen me everyday of their life almost. I'm chalking it up to breeding season and nest making. One of the girls has a clutch of 8 eggs or so that she is affixed to. There rest of the gang is her first line of defense. Goose patrol. Gander brigade. Feather fighters. Feel free to create your own clever name - extra points for puns.

And for some cooking. This is a recipe from the New York Times for Braised Pork All’Arrabbiata that looks like just the thing to get us through the last bits of this winter season. Back in my life at the Milwaukee Rep (it will still be winter there for 2 more months...ponder...), I worked on A Christmas Carol every year. There's a line that Mrs. Dilber (often played by some of my favorite actors), Scrooge's maid, says to him when he comes in from pinching pennies. She has left some gruel for him, and she declares it to be "Hot and Filling", but in her cockney accent, it is more like "Aught an fillin". Of course, this was a phrase we all latched on to and anything that got us through the cold was Hot and Filling. Now, this delicious, unctuous, spicy pork sauce will totally fit the bill. Scrooge would not approve. Get yourself some Porch Swing pork shoulder (and other delish pork) here.

Recipe for Braised Pork All’Arrabbiata

YIELD 6 to 8 servings (about 7 cups) TIME 3 1/2 hours Braised Pork All’Arrabbiata

2 to 2 ½ pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of more than 1/4- inch fat

Kosher salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

10 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed 1 ½ teaspoons red-pepper flakes

3 (14-ounce) cans fire-roasted crushed or diced tomatoes

1 cup red wine

5 basil sprigs

Serve over polenta or toss with tubed pasta, like penne or rigatoni. If serving with pasta, loosen the sauce with a little pasta cooking water to help the sauce coat the pasta.

Step 1 Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Season the pork all over with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.

Step 2 In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high. Add the pork shoulder and sear until browned on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes.

Step 3 Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the garlic and red-pepper flakes to the oil and stir to combine. Add the tomatoes, red wine and basil. Stir to combine, season with salt and lots of black pepper, then bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Step 4 Cover, then transfer to the oven and cook until the pork falls apart when prodded with a fork, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Step 5 Working directly in the pot, use two forks to shred the meat into long bite-size pieces. Stir the pork into the tomato sauce until it’s evenly distributed. Ragù will keep refrigerated for 3 days or frozen up to 3 months.

Thanks all and hope your winter is how you want it! Best, Holly

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