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Southwestern Pork Stew

Sometimes it’s just as easy to make a lot as a little. Here’s how to stew and transform one pork shoulder into two different flavoured meals. You can spend time to save time and avoid the dreaded “same old thing” blues by splitting the works into two meals!

 

Yield: 4-6 servings per meal

 

Ingredients

For the Stewed Pork shoulder:

1- 4 pound bone-in pork shoulder

2 carrots, chopped

2 onions, chopped

1 head of garlic cloves, whole

2 bay leaves

4 cups of water

1 teaspoon of salt

 

For the Southwestern Flavours:

¼ cup of cornmeal

1- 19 ounce can of black beans, drained & rinsed

1- 19 ounce can of diced tomatoes

1 each, red and yellow pepper, seeded and chopped

1 cup or so of frozen corn

2 tablespoons of chili powder

2 tablespoons of cumin

4 green onions, chopped

a bunch of cilantro

 

For the Mediterranean Flavours:

1- 19 ounce can of diced tomatoes

1 pint of halved cherry tomatoes

1- 19 ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 cup of your favourite black olives, pitted

2 tablespoons or so of dried oregano

1- 10 ounce bag of baby spinach

½- 454 gram box of rigatoni pasta, cooked and drained

2 to 4 ounces of Grana Padano Parmesan cheese

Method

For the basic pork stew begin by preheating your oven to 300°F and turn on your convection fan if you have one.

 

Place a heavy Dutch oven or large stew pot over medium-high heat and splash in enough oil to swirl and coat the bottom with a thin film. Carefully add the pork roast to the hot oil and commence Operation Browning. Continue, turning the works as needed until the meat is evenly browned on all sides.  Be patient! This is the only opportunity you’ll have to add the rich flavours of browned meat to the dish before the coming liquids are added and lower the temperature. When the roast is evenly browned, add the carrot, onion, garlic, salt, bay leaf and water. Continue heating until the braising broth comes to a full simmer. Turn off the heat. Cover and transfer to the oven to slowly braise, tenderize and flavourize, 5 full hours. Reverently remove from the oven, carefully remove the top and behold your achievement!

 

Using a pair of tongs remove the bones and cartilage. Shred the remaining meat and stir together the stew. You have a lot of food. Enough to divide into two different meals. Here’s how. Remove and reserve half the proceeds for another meal then make tonights dinner with the remaining stew in the pot.

 

For Southwestern Flavours:

Return the stew to the stovetop and stir until the works is simmering over medium heat yet again. Evenly sprinkle in the cornmeal, stirring it well so it dissolves easily, cleverly thickening the broth with an authentic flourish. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, peppers, corn, chili powder and cumin. Continue cooking and intensifying the flavours until the works is simmering merrily, 5 minutes or so. Garnish every serving with the cilantro. Serve and share.

 

For the Mediterranean Flavours:
Return the stew to the stovetop and stir until the works is simmering over medium heat yet again. Pile in the themed ingredients, the tomatoes, chickpeas, olives and oregano. Stir the works together and continue cooking long enough to heat everything through and perhaps a few minutes longer as the flavours intensify. Meanwhile cook your favourite pasta, drain it and toss it with the waiting sauce and all the baby spinach until the tender green leaves wilt. Serve and share.