This goes to the top of my list of “favorite things to do with pork!” I was completely surprised at how throwing a stew together out of desperation to use up a hefty pork shoulder resulted in this heavenly pot of smoky, juicy, tenderness. If you love nothing better than a stew to warm you and the whole family up when the chill in the air is biting, then this is your next dinner idea.
A couple of other reasons I ended up with this combination of ingredients is that over the holidays I bought a couple of extra special vegetables that got overlooked in the cooking madness that was my life for a solid week, and only surfaced when the din of my kitchen returned to its quiet hum. If you love the flavor of celery as I do, you will love the ugly vegetable pictured below!
It is the root of a variety of celery, and has a robust and deeply satisfying earthy quality that is addictive. It can be used as I used it, in a stew or soup, or can be mashed like a potato or made into a velvety puree. So, don’t let its knobbly, and wiry brown-haired appearance put you off: peel it and carry on!
I also had an abundance of fresh zesty cilantro to use up and a can of opened chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (see note below) in the fridge that needed to be used or would go to waste. This combination of flavors would turn this pork into something bordering on what I think of as Mexican flavors, and that was fine by me.
This can be cooked the day before and simply reheated on low on your stove top. This makes it a great dinner party dish and leaves you very free to have fun with your guests.
You will need:
4 lb pork shoulder (if it has a bone, you can ask the meat-counter guys to de-bone it. Even the lowliest of supermarkets will do this, so don’t be afraid to ask!). Cut pork into large bite-sized chunks
1/4 cup olive oil (more if needed)
2 medium/large sweet onions, large dice or halved and sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 parsnips, peeled & sliced
3 carrots, peeled & sliced
1 celery root (celeriac), peeled & diced
3 or 4 large white mushrooms, sliced
1 cup chopped cilantro
3 chipotle pepper with 2 tbs adobo sauce (see note below), chopped
1 1/4 cups red wine
6 1/2 cups chicken broth OR good quality bouillon cube & 6 1/2 cups water)
2 tsp sea-salt
freshly ground black pepper
*chipotle peppers are smoked jalapeno peppers and are usually paired with a smoky marinade sauce called adobo. You can find it in the ethnic or international section of your grocery store. They are a canned good item and will say something like “chipotle peppers in adobo” Whatever you do not use can be stored in a lidded container for several weeks in the refrigerator. I have many more recipes using this pepper so type Chipotle into the search box to the right and continue to enjoy whats left in the can!*
Preheat oven 450*
1 – Prep all ingredients as instructed above, including the meat.
2 – Dry pork chunks and season with the salt and several grinds of black pepper. Put big saute pan or heavy casserole on high heat and add 2 tbs oil. When it is smoky hot, add some of the meat, making sure NOT to crowd your pan. Do not touch for 2 minutes. Turn and brown the other side. Remove to a plate and set aside. Continue until all of the meat has been browned, adding more oil as needed.
3 – Turn heat down to low/medium and add the onions and garlic. Cook for about 4 or so minutes, stirring occasionally.
4 – Add the mushrooms and cook for another couple of minutes, then add the parsnips, carrots and celeriac. Give everything a good stir.
5 – Cook until veggie start to brown and then add the cilantro and chipotle peppers with adobo sauce.
6 – Turn heat up and add the red wine. Bring to a boil and cook on high for about 2 minutes.
7 – Add the stock (or bouillon and water) and bring to a boil. Add the pork and bring back to a boil. Turn off heat. Cover with lid and place in oven for 1 hour 15 minutes.
When you remove the stew form the oven, let it rest for 10 minutes before serving. I served it with rice and sautéed spinach leaves.