Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Pork Stew with Kale and Fresh Herbs

We finally got a rainstorm this weekend, so I was in the mood for something hearty to make for dinner. Last week, I told you that I would share with you a recipe that included fresh herbs from my kitchen window. So to fulfill both of these, I decided on my pork stew. I first made this stew when I had a bit of pork loin and some staple vegetables and not much else in the refrigerator. It was not enough meat for five people (well, four and a mini) to make into a main course, so I had to bulk it up with lots of vegetables. It was a hit, especially with S, who would eat the vegetables in the gravy and then come to your bowl to see if you had any leftover carrots. Since he can be a bit of a picky eater, anything that gets him to want seconds is good in my book.

You can make this dish in the Crock-Pot as well! Cook on high for 6 hours, adding the kale in during the last hour of cooking - Creative Mama Renee

I have been making this Pork Stew with Kale and Fresh Herbs when I am craving stew but not the heaviness of beef, plus it cooks faster. It can be done in about a hour on the stovetop, but don't hesitate to put it into a crockpot and let it cook on low for 8-10 hours. Since the recipe relies on root vegetables, I don't feel guilty serving it over steamed rice, but if my mom came to dinner, it would probably be served over mashed potatoes. If you don't eat pork, you could use chicken thighs or even turkey. I bet it would be delicious with lamb as well!

1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika

 1 1/2 pounds boneless pork loin
1 yellow onion
3 carrots
3 stalks of celery
1 large parsnip
1 bunch kale
 (I'm not one that got into the kale craze, but I think this stew is the perfect foil for dark leafy greens)

1 cup dry white wine 
2 cups chicken stock (homemade preferred)

1 teaspoon fresh marjoram
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 bay leaf


Heat a deep pan or Dutch oven over medium heat with about 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Cube the pork into 1-1 1/2 inch cubes (or get it pre-cut and save a step). Combine the flour and spices together, dredge the pork cubes in it, shaking off the extra. Without overcrowding your pan, brown the pork, in batches.

While the pork is browning, dice up the onion, celery, carrots and parsnip, trying to create even pieces. While this is a more rustic dish, evenly cut vegetables will cook at the same rate. When the pork is browned, remove it and add the vegetables. Season with a pinch of salt and some pepper. Let the vegetables caramelize and sweat for 8-10 minutes until translucent and slightly browned.

Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping the browned bits off the bottom with a wooden spoon. Add the pork and the chicken stock and let it come to a simmer. De-rib the kale and give it a rough chop, then add to the stew. It will look like a lot a kale, but give it about 5 minutes and it will really wilt down. At this point, cover the stew and let simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Click here for a printable recipe

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