Glossy Pork and Pumpkin stew

Butaniku To Kabocha No Tsuya Ni

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    4–6

    .

Appears in

At Home with Japanese Cooking

At Home with Japanese Cooking

By Elizabeth Andoh

Published 1986

  • About

This is a simple dish to make, perfect on those autumn days when bright, plump pumpkins make their way to market. The average Jack-o’-lantern is about 4 pounds, so if you get one that size, you’ll use only a quarter of it for this recipe. Serve the stew with a green salad—spinach with Sesame Seed Dressing would be a good Oriental choice—tart, crisp pickles and lots of hot white rice. You may be tempted to reduce the amount of sugar in this recipe; please don’t. The sugar is added in two stages, for flavor and gloss, and the resulting stew isn’t nearly as sweet as you might imagine.

Ingredients

  • 1–1½ pounds lean pork butt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • cups dashi (Basic Soup Stock)
  • Scant ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons saké (rice wine)
  • 1 pound pumpkin
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin (syrupy rice wine)

Method

Cut the pork into 1–1½-inch cubes and sauté them in a deep pot in the oil until browned. Pour off any excess oil before adding 2 cups of the stock, half the sugar and 1 tablespoon of the rice wine. Skim off any froth that may come to the surface, then use a dropped lid or partially cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

Peel the pumpkin, remove any seeds, and cut it into pieces approximately the same size as the pork. Add the pumpkin pieces to the pot with ½ cup more stock, raise the heat and skim the surface of any froth. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and add the remaining sugar and rice wine. Cook for 5 minutes and add the soy sauce. Cook for 10–15 more minutes or until the pumpkin is tender but not mushy. Before serving, add the syrupy rice wine and cook for 1 more minute over high heat.