Beef stew is my usual go-to once the forecast points to cold and damp, but every now and then, I like to try something new. I’d never made pork stew but when I spied a lovely package of cubed pork shoulder in the supermarket, I had to give it a try. This stew is hearty and filling but doesn’t feel as heavy as beef stew. White or yellow rice works really well with this, although it can definitely stand on its own with a nice slice of crusty bread.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound boneless pork, cut into bite-sized chunks
1/2 tablespoon sazón, divided
ground black pepper
1/2 cup flour
3 cups chicken stock
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 large red or white potato, peeled and chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Dutch oven or medium (3-quart) pot, with lid
breading tray, or cake pan
1. Heat oil in pot over medium heat until oil is shimmering—about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, place pork chunks in breading tray, then season with salt, pepper, and 1/2 of the sazón. Coat lightly with flour.
2. Brown pork cubes on all sides—about 4 minutes—then transfer to large plate.
3. Add chicken stock to pot and stir to pick up browned bits, then add chopped onion, potatoes, and carrots.
4. Stir in the rest of the sazón, vinegar, garlic, dried herbs, salt, and pepper, then return browned pork to pot.
5. Cover and simmer until pork is tender—about 30 minutes.
NOTES & TIPS
• 1/2 tablespoon sazón = 1 packet Sazón GOYA® con Culantro y Achiote (Coriander & Annatto)
• Worcestershire sauce or plain white vinegar can substitute for balsamic vinegar.
• In the right light, hot oil looks faintly iridescent; it “shimmers”. The surface also develops faint ripples. Don’t see it? Drop a tiny bit of flour in the skillet. If oil immediately froths up, it is hot enough to cook with.
• Don’t overcrowd the pork as it browns or the meat will steam instead of sear. If necessary, cook it in batches.
• Avoid using Idaho or “baking” potatoes for stew. The texture is too mushy for stews or soups.
• To thicken stew: mix one teaspoon flour with cold water, stir well, add to stew and then bring it to a boil. Then bring the heat down to a simmer and continue to cook for about 10 minutes.