Friday, October 28, 2011

Sunday Supper: Pork and Pumpkin Stew


Yes, I said Pumpkin...

in a stew...

Pumpkin is not just for sweet dishes you know.  This wonderful vegetable is really good in a savory dish. 

I was given this recipe from Williams-Sonoma at last week's technique class.  I admit, I was skeptical.  I mean I love pumpkin, mixed with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.  It's sweet.  It's great in bread, cookies, ice cream, and of course pie....but a stew?

So Chef Monique made this in class, and my motto is to try everything in class.  Just try it...cause I'm a picky girl and if it doesn't sound good or look good I'll usually pass.  I've passed on a lot in my life.  But this class allows me to experiment.  I mean, we made a smoothie with pineapple and spinach in it the other day....spinach?  eek! not in my drink!  Well I tried it and it was HEAVENLY...green, but heavenly.

So I gave the pumpkin stew a try and you know what?  I fell in love!  A savory pumpkin dish gives a whole new meaning to this autumn ingredient. 

So I went home and straight away made the stew for our Sunday Supper.  It's a great hearty family meal.  MGG loved it!  I loved it!  Enough said.

So you can make this Pumpkin Stew 2 ways. 

1) Using the recipe below, you can cook this in a slow cooker, from scratch, roasting and cubing pumpkin in about 4 hours.

2) Using this nifty bottle of Williams-Sonoma's Stewsday Pumpkin Stew Starter along with your pork in a slow cooker in about 3 hours.

Guess which way I chose?

I chose the bottle.  In class we compared the ingredients from the recipe to those in the bottle and they were the same.  Pumpkin Stew Starter is an all-natural blend of roasted pumpkin, tomatoes and carrots, gently seasoned with garlic and aromatic autumn spices.  Pretty much all natural ingredients.  I love that about their items.  While it is a little costly $16.00 each or 2 for $28.00 this stew makes a great meal, and calls for 3lbs of pork, so it will feed quite a few people.  Great to make a big batch and freeze part of it for future meals.

Let's just say that I loved this sooo much and it is sooo easy that I went back to the store and purchased 2 more bottle so I have them over the winter.  (I think this is a seasonal item, according to the store clerk)

So here's how I made my Sunday Supper.

I took 3 lbs of pork loin and cut it up into cubes.  Both the jar and the recipe call for pork shoulder but I prefer the leaner pork loin.  Use what you feel is best.  Even chicken would be good.



I seasoned the pork with salt and pepper and threw it in my slow cooker.  Then I poured the jar of stew stater over the pork and cooked it on high for 3 hours.  Easy!



Once it was done, it was pull apart tender!




 I served it over rice with some nice Italian country bread.



YUM!



So if you are inclined to make this from scratch...here is the recipe or try the bottle! (I won't tell)


Pork and Pumpkin Stew

by Williams-Sonoma

Ingredients:


  • 2 lb. boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp. chicken demi-glace
  • 2 tsp. tomato paste
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbs. applesauce
  • 9 oz. canned diced tomatoes with juices
  • 1 lb. peeled and diced (3/4-inch dice) pumpkin or winter squash, such as kabocha
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh sage
  • 4 tsp. chicken stock concentrate mixed with 2 cups water, or 2 cups chicken stock

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 325°F.

Season the pork with salt and black pepper. In a 3 1/2-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Working in batches, brown the pork on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium and warm the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, demi-glace, tomato paste, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, cloves and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the vinegar, applesauce, tomatoes with their juices, pumpkin, sage, stock and pork. Bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pot to the oven and cook until the pork is fork-tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Skim the fat off the sauce. Serve the stew over mashed potatoes or rice.



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