About Me

I have been cooking my way through life for over 50 years, beginning with mud pies as a child. I've turned a corner now and feel a Renaissance in my life. Recipes and Random Thoughts is my personal spin in a blog about how to prepare good food and how it prepares you for life. I want to share with you, honest to goodness food punctuated with perspective from the special memories and moments that have marked my journey.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Slow Cooker Pork Stew with Baby Kale, Cannellini Beans and Orecchiette

Delicious Pork Stew
My kitchen is being painted and my cooking time and space are really pinched this week so I pulled out my multi-cooker and used its slower cook mode to create this cozy dish that has moist and tender meat with rich, satisfying flavor. Braising meat this way breaks down the toughest cuts with slow steady heat and not too much liquid. A sprinkle of grated cheese and some grilled sour dough round out this simple dish without too much fuss. The tender baby kale leaves are added when served so they aren't over cooked and give a bit of texture without the stonger flavor of mature kale.  Like many stews the flavor improves with time and this is an excellent choice for something to pull out of the freezer at the last minute.

Thin sliced baby kale
2 lbs boneless pork ribs trimmed of excess fat and cut into one inch cubes
1 peeled large onion cut in half through the root and sliced thin
1 trimmed fennel bulb sliced thin
6 whole garlic cloves
1 14 oz. can petit diced tomatoes with juices
1 16 oz. can cannellini beans
2 cups orecchiette pasta
1 cup water
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika
salt & fresh ground pepper
2 cups fresh baby kale cut in thin strips

Put the garlic and sliced onion and fennel in the bottom of the slow cooker. Season the pork cubes with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper and place on top of the vegetables.  Sprinkle with the cumin,  oregano, coriander and paprika.  Add the can of diced tomatoes, 1 cup of water, sprig of thyme and bay leaf.  Cook on high for 2 hours.  The meat should be fork tender.  Skim off excess fat from the surface before adding the cannellini beans, with their liquid, and orecchiette. For a creamier texture, mash a cup of the beans before adding them to the broth.  Add salt to taste, it will take a good bit.  Reduce heat to warm, cover and cook another half hour.  To serve, put 1/2 cup loosely packed baby kale strips in the bottom of a soup bowl they ladle the stew over the kale.  Sprinkle with grated parmesan and serve.

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