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Slow-Cooked Pork Stew

(recipe, Roy Finamore)

Introduction

Sure, it would be a lot easier to buy a boneless pork loin and cut that up for a stew, but you're just not going to get the flavor, or texture, you will from a shoulder. And there's something so satisfying about working your knife along the bone, releasing lobes of pork, then cutting them into big chunks; it's a feeling of accomplishment, isn't it?

Ingredients

  1. 1 bone-in pork shoulder (about 4½ pounds)
  2. Coarse salt
  3. Freshly ground black pepper
  4. 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  5. 2 carrots, chopped fine
  6. 1 onion, chopped fine
  7. 1 celery stalk, chopped fine
  8. 1½ tsp. fennel seeds, crushed
  9. ½ tsp. dried sage
  10. 1 bay leaf
  11. 2 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  12. ½ cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
  13. 1 cup canned tomatoes, with their juice, chopped or crushed
  14. 1 cup chicken or beef stock

Steps

  1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Cut the rind off the pork and discard it. Cut the pork into large chunks, about 2 inches. Season the pork with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a heavy Dutch oven or other heavy ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. When the oil shimmers, add the pork, in batches, and brown it. If you crowd the meat in the pan, it will steam and not get crusty brown, and you want that brown crust. Transfer the pork to a bowl as it browns.
  4. Lower the heat to medium. Spoon in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pan and when it shimmers, add the carrots, onion, and celery. Season with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring once in a while, until the vegetables are starting to brown at the edges, about 10 minutes. Stir in the fennel seeds, sage, bay leaf, and sun-dried tomatoes. Cook for 1 minute. Pour in the wine and let it bubble up. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan to dissolve the browned bits that will have accumulated. Stir in the canned tomatoes and stock and bring to a simmer. Taste for salt and pepper, then stir in the pork and any juices in the bowl.
  5. Cover the pan with parchment or foil, then cover tightly with the lid and slide the pan into the oven. Roast slowly for 2½ hours.
  6. Fold up a kitchen towel and set one side of the pot on it, so the pot's on an angle. Leave it alone for about 5 minutes, then spoon off the fat that will have pooled.
  7. Serve in wide shallow bowls.