Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Spicy Pork, Potato and Pepper Stew

There are some foods that are just more photogenic than others, let's face it.  I'm pretty sure I've got my cookies, cakes and salads down pat by now.  They always look pretty, even if the picture isn't perfect.  I'm admittedly a novice photographer.  I don't know the technical terms for any of the things my camera can do.  I just shoot by intuition and quite a lot of practice and bad photos along the way.  I think I'm getting better.

After almost two years of blogging I have finally found the perfect window so taking a better picture in good lighting is now possible in my house in the dead of winter (of course, it helps that we've just now gotten around to getting the construction materials from projects around the house out of there so I can actually go into it).  Summer photos are easier as the light through my big kitchen window is quite bright in both the morning and afternoon, but winter and spring have continued to be a struggle.  I'm never completely satisfied with the final result.  Until now.  It's a been a long, slow learning curve for me.  But I think I can finally begin to say that the photographs I present here are starting to represent the real me.

But that learning curve has resulted in many, many recipes that will never be shared with you because the food just doesn't look right.  I find meats the hardest to shoot- I just can't make them look appetizing.  And there's a spicy lentil soup that my family just adores that always looks too weirdly orange and lumpy to show off.  Stews and chilis fit in the "tricky to photograph well" category as well.  But maybe, just maybe, I'm getting somewhere with my photography.  Because I think I've actually got a couple decent shots to go with a wonderful recipe that I'm relieved I can share.  A stew worthy of a good picture, two pictures even, that I am proud to share with you, my friends.
Spicy Pork, Potato and Pepper Stew
Serves 4-6 people.  Inspired by the stews in the Feb/March issue of Fine Cooking.
For the printable recipe, click here.

There's a bit of spicy in this stew from a hint of chipotle chili powder and some roasted green chilis.  I found it to be just right and not overwhelmingly hot, and my 8 year old son agreed and heat-hating husband agreed with me.  Feel free to add or subtract a bit of heat to your liking however.  I confess to using jarred roasted peppers in my stew.  I decided that in a stew with this many ingredients and length of cooking time that roasting my own would really be unnecessary.  I'm glad I didn't go through the trouble of the extra step because I perfectly satisfied with the flavor of the jarred peppers.  You could certainly roast your own if you want to, but it is not essential.

3 lbs boneless pork shoulder or Boston butt, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
3 tbs vegetable oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
2 medium celery stalks, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
1 tbs chopped roasted green (or hatch) chilis
1 12 oz beer, I used a dark lager
2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
1 lb (about 2 medium) yukon gold or red skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
4 medium shallots, quartered
2 roasted red peppers, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
lime wedges, for serving

In a large Dutch oven or other heavy duty pot, heat the oil until shimmering.  Add about 1/3 of the pork in a single layer and brown well on 3-4 sides.  Remove the meat and repeat the browning process two more times with the remaining 2/3 of the pork. 

You need about 2 tbs of oil in the pan for the vegetables.  If you need more add it now.  Once hot, add the onions, carrots, celery and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook over medium heat until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Stir and scrape the bottom of the pot often.  Add the garlic, oregano, cumin, chili powder and green chilis to the pot and stir until fragrant, just one minute.

Add the beer to the pot and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom.  Raise the heat to medium high and simmer until the beer is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.  Add the chicken broth and water  and bring to a simmer.  Return the meat to the pot along with any juices that have accumulated.  Lower the heat to maintain a constant simmer.  Place the lid on the pot and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the potatoes and shallots to the pot after the first 30 minutes of simmering.  Replace the lid and continue to cook for another 30-45 minutes.  At that point, add in the roasted red peppers.  Replace the lid and continue cooking for 30-45 minutes or until the pork is very tender and all the vegetables have cooked through.  Stir in the cilantro and remove from the heat.  Serve warm with a wedge of lime.

No comments:

Post a Comment