Delicious, hearty roasted pork in tomato sauce with garlic, served with mashed potatoes and pickles.
This sort of sliced roasted pork in tomato sauce was an important part of our traditional Romanian Christmas dinner.
There was always the Chicken Soup with Dumplings – Supa de galusti, Romanian Boeuf Salad, Sarmale – Traditional Romanian Cabbage Rolls, Romanian Sweet Bread with Walnuts – Cozonac, and this kind of pork roast.
Sliced Pork in Tomato Sauce
Romanian Christmas food traditions
My grandmother, like my aunt nowadays, would start cooking all these things one or two days before Christmas Eve, and we would keep eating the same things for lunch and dinner until they were all gone, which considering the quantities and the fact that there was only the two of us, it always took a week or so...
Her usual pork roast for Christmas was even more basic than today's recipe. Actually, I could not even call that a roast, as she would only fry slices of pork in a frying pan, which she served with mashed potatoes (or sometimes only bread) and pickles, mostly Green (Unripe) Tomato Pickles.
We had a big tradition of Christmas pig slaughtering in Romania during the communist times and later on in the 90s. People probably still do that nowadays (especially in the villages), but not the way it used to be done during those times.
How to make pork in tomato sauce?
So, after this insight into Romanian food history, let's get back to the pork roast. This is indeed a very recipe for pork in tomato sauce. It needs a bit of oven time, but that is really not that bad. I mean, once you get it in the oven, you don't really have any actual work to do anymore.
- Pork: I had a whole pork roast from the neck of the pork, which I sliced into finger-thick slices. However, you can buy already thickly sliced pork neck.
- After slicing and seasoning the pork, if you have to, there is not much you have to do except for mixing the sauce ingredients.
- Tomato sauce: The garlic and tomato sauce is absolutely delicious: fruity, fresh, and garlicky. It contains garlic, which is an ingredient that you cannot think out from Romanian cuisine.
- Dill seeds: Another typical Romanian ingredient that I use to make pork in tomato sauce is dill seeds. They are not easy to find in Germany, so I mostly grow and harvest my own dill seeds, but you could buy them online as well.
- If you cannot find or don't want to buy dill seeds just for making one dish, you could replace them with other dried herbs like summer savory (also very much used in Romanian recipes) or even thyme or oregano. The flavor will be rather different, but the pork in tomato sauce will still be delicious.
- And if you do buy the dill seeds and are interested in some serious Romanian cooking, why not try making Sarmale - Romanian cabbage rolls?
Ensure that the roasting dish you use is large enough to fit the meat slices in one single layer. Still, the meat slices should be close to each other and be covered in the sauce before you put them in the oven.
How to serve?
Do try to serve this pork in tomato sauce with mashed potatoes: The soft potatoes, the tomato sauce, and the tender meat pieces make a wonderful combination.
We served this roasted pork dish with pickled vegetables, the Romanian style, I would say, pickled green tomatoes for me and mostly gherkins for the rest of the family.
Other delicious pork dishes
Pork in Tomato Sauce
- 1 kg/ 2.2 lbs pork neck
- 3 large garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
- 250 g/ 8.8 oz/ 1 cup tomato puree
- 150 ml/ 5 fl.oz/ ⅔ cup water
- 1 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika powder
- 2 teaspoons dill seeds
- 4-5 bay leaves
- fine sea salt and black pepper
- some fresh parsley
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If the neck pork roast is whole, cut it into finger-thick slices. Pound them very lightly with a meat mallet. Place the meat in a roasting dish large enough to fit the meat slices in one single layer. Still, the meat slices should be close to each other and be covered in the sauce before you put them in the oven.
- Sprinkle the pork with some salt and pepper.
- Press or grate the garlic cloves and mix them with the oil, tomato puree, and water. Add the paprika powder, dill seeds, salt, and pepper to taste. Mix well.
- Pour this mixture over the meat in the roasting pan making sure that all the pork slices are covered in sauce. If necessary, thin the sauce with a little bit more water to make sure you have enough of it. Place the bay leaves here and there in the sauce.
- Cover the pan tightly with foil. Place it in the hot oven and roast for one hour. Remove the foil and continue roasting for about 30 minutes. Check the meat, it should be cooked through and really soft. If it isn't soft enough, prolong the roasting process, checking again after 10 minutes or so. But I find one and a half hours to be normally sufficient, the meat is always very soft.
- Sprinkle with some parsley and serve immediately with mashed potatoes and pickled vegetables.
Angie@Angie's Recipes says
Looks so tempting with that paprika sauce!
Albert Bevia says
You had me at garlic and paprika...seriously, this looks and sounds so delicious, this dish is a huge winner in my books
Thank you for the information about your family when you were young. I love the pork and sauce recipe.
Thank you for the feedback, Sally. 🙂
Kim Aurand says
Great story. I love hearing people experiences with food, and the traditions (even scarey kid stuff). Thank you
Thank you for your comment, Kim.
Mr IW BURLOW says
Absolutely stunning. I make it regularly..girlfriend loves it.
Thank you. So happy to hear that!