Purple Pig

So what’s in the name? Legend has it that when a pig drinks red wine it turns purple. Why would a pig drink red wine you ask? It has an aversion to the white wine.
If you are in Chicago area and looking for delicious-and-easygoing-foodie destination, you must go to The Purple Pig located right on Magnificent Mile, 500 North Michigan Avenue. This place is your ticket to a different food experience.
Every item on the menu is a “sharing size” portion which made this small-town gal confused so much that I asked three (!) times for an explanation. To me, sharing size should be big enough to share with at least two people. Am I right? Well here, mind you, it’s an appetizer. All I wanted was to eat, not for someone to make me feel stupid.  My husband Rob and I ordered their Meatball Slider, Pork Neck Bone Gravy with Ricotta smear and Chicken Thigh Kebab to share (oh, now I get the concept!). The meatball was just that – one meatball; pretty tasty one, but one nonetheless. Chicken was easier to share and the pork gravy served with unlimited toasted bread was plenty. And sooo good!

The flavor was comforting and familiar. It tasted like mom’s Paprikash and, naturally, I thought I can recreate this dish easily. I did. Here is the proof. Rob said he liked my version better because it was more “meaty”. Ask him if you don’t believe me.

2 pounds boneless Pork Shoulder, cubed

½ cup Ricotta Cheese
2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
¼ cup all-purpose Flour
1 Onion, diced
1 clove Garlic, minced
1 can (14.5 oz) Petite diced Tomatoes
1 can (8 oz) Tomato Sauce
1 cup Dry Red Wine
1 cup Beef Broth
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper, ground
2 teaspoons Basil, dried
1 Bay leaf
1 teaspoon Thyme, dried

For Crostini (toasted bread):
Butter and good quality Italian bread (like Artisan), sliced.


Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Place the flour into a bowl. Add pork and toss until coated. Place the pork in the pan and continue cooking, turning frequently until pork is browned. Add garlic, salt, pepper, basil, thyme and bay leaf and cook, stirring, for 1 minute longer. Pour the wine, broth, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce into the pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook at a low simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours stirring occasionally until pork is very tender and sauce is thick. Pull meat apart using two forks. Transfer to a serving bowl and nestle ricotta cheese in the middle. Serve with Crostini.




Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter each slice of bread on both sides. You can certainly use olive oil instead of butter, but butter compliments this hearty dish better. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes turning once until crisp. To speed up the process and to get that rustic and charbroiled look on the edges, broil in the oven on high for about 3 minutes on each side. Smear this purple pig on Crostini and bite in. Leftover pig (if you have any) is great over pasta or mashed potatoes! And of course red wine, always wine! Cheers!

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publisher and creative director at All that's Jas
Jas is a cheesecake addict and the author of Balkan Comfort Food cookbook available on Amazon. You can download a free excerpt of the book when you subscribe to All that's Jas newsletter updates or purchase the full version below. To learn more about Jas visit her About page.
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