When it’s cold outside there is nothing better to warm your belly than a nice bowl of stew. And this pork stew with Asian accents will do just that. I was searching for something other than the traditional beef stew and stumbled upon this one, which came from Fine Cooking. I tested it out and made a minor adjustment. Now, IMO it’s perfect. 😉
It is relatively inexpensive to make as it utilizes pork shoulder or pork butt (same thing). You may ask your butcher to trim off the excess fat, and there will be quite a bit. Don’t fret about removing all of it. Some will add flavour and the excess can be removed after the cooking process.
You will need a heavy bottom pot, or Dutch oven.
3 lbs boneless pork shoulder, fat trimmed and cut into 1-1/2 to 2 inch pieces
3 tbsp olive oil, more as needed
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 medium celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp minced fresh lemongrass
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp ground coriander
1 or 2 Thai bird chillies or 1 rounded tsp of red chilli flakes
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups onion wedges ( 3/4″ wedges)
2 cups butternut squash (1-inch dice)
2 cups diced red pepper( 1″ dice)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp fresh lime juice, more to taste
1 tbsp fish sauce, more to taste
Position rack in the bottom third of your oven and heat oven to 325’F
Spread the pork on paper towels to dry for 10-20 minutes before browning. If the meat is very wet, pat it dry. Use this time to chop the onion celery and carrot.
Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pot (6 quart), until it is shimmering hot. Season 1/4 of the pork with salt and pepper and arrange it in a single layer in the pot( leaving 1/2 inch space between pieces. Brown well on all four sides, adjusting the heat if necessary. Each batch should take about 10 minutes to brown. Transfer the pork to a large bowl in batches. Repeat with the remaining pork pieces. Once all the pork is browned remove the pot from the heat and let it cool a few minutes.
Leave about 2 tbsp of fat in the pot and if there isn’t enough fat then add in oil equal to 2 tbsp. Return the pot to medium heat, add the chopped onion, celery and carrot. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, cook stirring often and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spatula. Cook until the vegetables have softened (about 5 minutes).
Stir in the garlic, ginger, lemongrass, coriander and chillies and cook stirring about 1-2 minutes.
Add 1 cup of water, stirring to dissolve any of the brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Raise the heat to medium high and boil to reduce by about 1/2, 5-8 minutes. Add the chicken broth and the additional 1-1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Return the pork to the pot along with any accumulated juices. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer.
Crumple a 12×16-inch piece of parchment, then flatten it out.
(crumpling makes it easier to handle)
Place the parchment directly on the surface of the stew, allowing the ends to come up the sides of the pot. Cover with a lid and place in the oven for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes of stewing, add the onion wedges to the pot. Cover with parchment and lid and return to the oven another 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, add the squash and bell peppers. Cover with parchment and lid and return to the oven, cooking another hour until the pork is fork tender.
Stir in the cilantro, lime juice and fish sauce and taste adding more if necessary. Degrease the stew by laying a paper towel over the surface of the stew and gently pushing it into all the bumps and dips, then quickly peeling it off. Once the stew is chilled, lift the solidified fat off the top with a slotted spoon. Reheat over medium-low heat to serve.
This stew can be made ahead up to 2 days.