A few weeks ago I got a one of those e-mails that goes like this:
“We are participating in a collective and hopefully tasty experiment. As such, you have been invited to be part of a fall recipe exchange. We hope you will participate!”
In exchange for sending just one recipe to the person listed at the bottom of the e-mail, I would receive thirty-six recipes. But there was a catch. I had to invite twenty friends to participate. I didn’t really want to do it, but I reasoned it could be interesting to see what recipes people were sharing. The e-vite assured me that “seldom does anyone drop out because we all need new ideas!”
I sent along my latest recipe from Three Many Cooks and then cringed as I hit send on the email strong-arming my unsuspecting sister-in-laws and cooking friends to participate. And then I waited. Nearly all of my friends and family wrote apologies bowing out. In the end I got one recipe from (of all people) friend and blogging colleague Amy Johnson from the popular site, She Wears Many Hats.
But at least that one recipe— Beer-Braised Pork Roast—was inspiring. I asked and she agreed to let me riff on the recipe. Combining her Braised Pork Roast recipe with my modified pressure cooker stewing technique, I came up with a new iteration—Pork Stew with Balsamic and Beer, which I’ve made twice now—to hearty “oohs” and “ahs”—for casual fall dinner parties.
A few days after the first e-mail I got the exact same invitation from another friend. I promptly wrote back and said, “I don’t have twenty more friends!”
- 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into1½-inch cubes, patted dry
- 5 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil, divided
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 1 large onion, cut into medium dice
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 bottle (12 ounces) dark beer
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 pounds red and sweet potatoes (a mix) peeled and cut into 1½-inch chunks
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
- Adjust oven racks to lowest and middle positions and heat oven to 450 degrees.
- Heat a heavy-bottomed soup kettle or large Dutch oven over low heat.
- Meanwhile, place pork in a medium bowl. Pour 2 tablespoons of oil over the meat, season with salt and pepper; toss to coat.
- A few minutes before searing, increase heat to a strong medium-high until wisps of smoke start to rise from the pan. Working in 2 batches to prevent overcrowding, add pork; sear, turning only once, until 2 sides form an impressive, brown crust, 6 to 8 minutes per batch. Transfer meat to a plate; set aside.
- Heat another tablespoon of oil in empty pan; add onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and oregano; cook until fragrant, about a minute. Whisk in flour, then broth, beer, vinegar and sugar; stir in pork. Using 2 potholders to protect hands, place a sheet of heavy-duty foil over the pot, pressing on the foil so that it touches the stew. Seal foil around the edges. Place lid snugly on pot and turn burner on medium-high until you hear juices bubble. Set pot on middle rack in oven and cook for a total of 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- At the 45-minute point, toss potatoes with remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper in a 13-by 9-inch pan. Set on bottom rack. Roast potatoes and continue to cook stew until sweet potatoes and pork are tender, about 30 minutes longer. Remove potatoes and stew from oven. Remembering that kettle and lid are hot, stir potatoes into stew. Re-cover pot with foil and lid and let meat rest and vegetables marry with stew, about 5 minutes. Return stew to burner, if necessary to reheat. Stir in parsley and serve.
Alanna Kellogg says
Haha — I’ve had this happen too, after all, it’s logical for people to expect us to want to participate. But our FRIENDS are already overloaded with our recipes, thanks to what we do for WORK. But the stew looks lovely, our kinda food! We did something similar with beef and beer and sauerkraut, very tasty!
Sharon Damelio says
Sorry, mama! I was one of the people bowing out. I love new recipes, but I kind of hate emailing people. I wish we could do this face-to-face. What if we had a party where everyone just showed up with a bottle of wine and a recipe? We’d all just eat, drink, and have fun, and then we’d put all the recipes together and photocopy them, creating a little book (and by book I mean paper stapled together!) to take home. I like people so much more than email! Also, this looks awesome. So, if nothing else, we got a new family favorite out of this slightly less-than-effective email recipe swap 🙂
Mag Mulligan says
This recipe sounds delicious and I plan to make it over the holidays! About how many servings will it make?
Pam Anderson says
It serves a generous 8. Enjoy!
I love this recipe, perfect cold weather comfort!
Carol at Wild Goose Tea says
This is a most purrrrfect recipe for this time of year. Also it’s nice to have a stew with pork instead of the more tradition beef. Of course I love pork, so I maybe prejudiced.
Stews make for great leftovers too for lunches.
It’s very tasty! (Use half the vinegar) cheers!
“Roast potatoes and continue to cook stew until sweet potatoes and pork are tender, about 30 minutes longer.”
The above seems to imply the sweet potatoes were put in the stew with the pork rather than roasted with the other potatoes… yes? no?
Pam Anderson says
You roast the potatoes and stew the pork, then stir the cooked potatoes into the fully cooked stew. That way the potatoes retain their distinct flavor.
Loves to cook says
Perfect for a chilly winter day. Owing to less stock and elderberry balsamic, the caramelized sauce was amazing served over simple soft polenta. Used peanut oil for its high temp tolerance to brown the meat in a Le Creuset braiser. Bon appetit
Yvonne Reese says
I found this stew to be time consuming but well worth the effort. I didn’t change anything aside from using about half the oil to bake the potatoes because I wanted them to crisp up a bit. They stuck a bit to the bottom of the Pyrex dish but I was able to dish them into the stew intact.
I liked how the pork pieces were very tender and not swimming in liquid. There was just enough gravy like liquid to coat the potatoes.
I wasn’t sure about the flavor profile with the beer and vinegar but it really works.
And I appreciate the technique of placing the foil over the stew and then covering with a lid as well as roasting the potatoes separate. Very happy with this recipe. I might try substituting coconut sugar for the brown sugar next time.
O M G. best stew i ever had. Making it once a week now.