Sunday, February 7, 2010

Pork stew

You won't have time to make this for the Super Bowl.  Too bad.  It's really good.

4-5 lb pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
An assortment of vegetables – carrots, onions, parsnip, sweet potato, celery, celery root, turnip, rutabaga, garlic. 
Beer, wine, stock, or a combination or beer + stock or wine + stock
Thyme, bay leaf, salt & pepper

This is a wonderful stew.  I encourage you to do this pork version, rather than a more typical beef.  Pork, shoulder in particular, lends itself so well to slow, moist cooking.

Cut up the pork shoulder into 1-inch cubes.  Season liberally.  In a 5- or 6-quart Dutch oven, brown the pork in batches in a small amount of oil.  (Don’t forget what Julia taught us: dry the meat before you add it to the pot, and don't crowd it!)  Set aside the cooked pork cubes as they're done.

Cube the veggies you have.  At a minimum, you should have onions, carrots, celery, and garlic.  If you have other veggies on hand, by all means use them.  As my grandmother would say about a dish like this, "The more you put, the more you find."  If you're so inclined, you could even cut back on the amount of meat, and load up on the veggies.  It would still be excellent.  In total, you'll want to have about 4 cups of veggies. 

In the same pot, add a bit more oil, and brown the veggies lightly.  Season them well.   Add back the pork. 

Add your liquid.  I love a good amber beer like Yuengling Lager for the cooking liquid, but wine will do fine, too.  If you have some stock (chicken, or pork stock if you have it), you can add a bit of that, too.  Add enough liquid to that it barely comes to the top of the mixture of meat and veggies.  You'll probably need 2 to 3 12-oz bottles of beer. 

Add your bay leave, and a teaspoon of dry thyme.  Hold off on more salt and pepper until the stew is nearly done, as you've seasoned the meat and veggies already. 

Bring the stew to a simmer on the stovetop, cover, and put into a 300-325°F oven for two to three hours, until the pork is fall-apart tender. 

Test for seasoning and adjust as necessary.

If you like a thicker gravy, make a beurre maniƩ (equal parts butter and flour kneaded into a paste) and stir a couple tablespoons into the stew to thicken the sauce.

4 comments:

  1. This was damn tasty! I altered it as the recipe suggested, and according to what I had on hand. Superb!

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    1. Thanks, MoJo. Glad you enjoyed it! Tell me what alterations you made. I'm eager to hear about them!

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