Pork Stew with Prunes and Onions

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    4

Appears in

The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen

By Paula Wolfert

Published 2003

  • About

This winter dish from southwest France has a lot going for it: well-caramelized cubes of pork; a deglazing that provides deep flavor; an embellishment of lush, sweet dried plums joined with glazed sweet-and-sour onions. The result is a rich flavorful stew that isn't the least bit cloying and that reheats beautifully.

I suggest you serve this dish over Oven-Baked Polenta, which follows.

Ingredients

  • pounds pork shoulder or butt, trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil mixed with a pinch each of ground cinnamon, black pepper, crumbled rosemary, and thyme
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • cups dry white wine
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 medium carrots, halved crosswise
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt
  • cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 12 small white onions
  • tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 8 dried large pitted prunes (dried plums), soaked in hot water to soften
  • Chopped flat-leaf parsley

Method

  1. Cut the pork into ¾-inch cubes. Toss the pieces with the spiced oil and leave in a cool place for at least 3 to 4 hours.
  2. In a large, heavy flameproof casserole, cook the pork, covered, without the addition of any fat, over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Uncover and sauté, stirring frequently, until the moisture has evaporated and the pork is thoroughly browned, about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the pork to a side dish, reduce the heat to medium, and add the onion. Cook until soft and beginning to brown. Remove the onion with a slotted spoon and add to the pork.
  4. Add the vinegar, mustard, and ½ cup of the white wine to the casserole. Heat to boiling, scraping up any brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan. Boil until reduced to a glaze. Add another ½ cup wine and reduce again. Repeat until all the wine has been reduced to a glaze. Add the garlic, carrots, and bay leaf and let them sizzle for a minute; return the pork and onions and any accumulated juices to the pan. Pour in the stock and season with salt to taste. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook very slowly for about 45 minutes.
  5. Cut an X in the root end of each small onion. Blanch in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Drain and cool under cold running water. Peel the onions. Combine the onions with ¾ cup water, the butter, and the sugar in a medium skillet. Simmer, covered, until the water evaporates, about 5 minutes. Cook, uncovered, over low heat until tender and well browned, about 8 minutes. Set aside.
  6. When the meat has cooked a total of 45 minutes, add the prunes and browned onions. Cover the casserole and continue cooking until the pork is soft, about 15 minutes. From time to time, swirl the casserole to keep the meat, onions, and prunes from sticking. Remove the casserole from the heat, discard the bay leaf, and correct the seasoning. Garnish with chopped parsley.

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