Slow cooked pork stew
With the longer days there come lots of adventures. Sometimes those are hikes in far off lands, sometimes it’s exploring the wilder side of a park from the vantage of a picnic rug drinking a large glass of Pimm’s. Wherever your adventure takes you, the certainty is that you’ll need to eat. That’s where this summer pork stew comes in. It’s a slow cooked pork stew that requires very little attention and is there to feed everyone when the time comes.
Don’t have summer yet? No, nor did I, but that’s not a problem, a good Scout is always prepared, and is ready to pretend it’s summer if there’s an adventure to be had and food to be eaten. In this case that means not so much cooking on a campfire, but using either using a big pot in the oven or a slow cooker.
The reason I love this dish is because it’s all about sitting down and sharing. Sharing the stew. Sharing whatever weird and wonderful drink your friend’s just discovered. Sharing stories and laughter. There’s something primeval about sitting round a campfire (OK fine, in this case it was a candle in the middle of the table…). People have done it for millennia, and it’s one of the best things you can do.
Sure, we’re not in a cave, passing down knowledge about which berries to seek out or which snakes will kill us. More than likely we’re round a table and – if you’re anything like me – a couple glasses of wine down and talking about some holiday you’ve been on or laughing about a friend did or you saw earlier that day.
Does it make it any less meaningful? I’d argue not. And when the food is a slow cooked pork stew you can almost guarantee that there will be a laugh when someone makes an inevitable mess of themselves. This a recipe that pays to have some napkins handy.
This recipe is the very epitome of sharing. The basic principle you’re going though is that the meat should be so tender it falls apart, but the beans should not be becoming a soup. So try this out – be it with an oven, slow cooker or campfire – and let me know what stories you’re sharing with it.
This recipe is a sure-fire hit! You can make campfire stew in a big pot over a campfire (it would be a pretty stupid name if you couldn’t!) but since that’s probably not practical for most I’ve included two ways below – one in a big casserole pot in the oven, and the other in the slow cooker.
- 1kg pork shoulder
- 1 onion
- 500g passata
- 2 red peppers
- 1 tin of haricot beans
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 4 tsp tomato puree
- 100ml vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- salt and pepper
In the oven
Preheat your oven to 180ºC.
On the hob, heat up the olive oil. Chop the onion and crush the garlic. When the pan is hot, toss them in and gently brown them for about five minutes until they are soft. Whilst this is happening, chop your peppers in to small chunks.
Add in the pork shoulder and brown on all sides.
Remove the pork and add in the herbs and cumin. Sauté for a minute or so and then add in the stock and passata. Add the paprika and cayenne pepper then the peppers and beans. Stir together with a little salt and pepper. Add the pork back in – ensuring it is surrounded by the mixture, not sitting on top of it – and place in the oven.
Cook for 2.5 to 3 hours, until the meat is tender.
Take the pork shoulder out and onto a large plate, then shred using a couple of forks.
If your liquid feels too thin, put it back on the hob at a high heat to reduce down for 5 minutes.
Add the – now shredded – pork back into the stew, taste to check the seasoning, and serve.
Chop your onion, garlic and peppers. Add all the ingredients into the slow cooker – except the pork – and mix together to ensure they’re thoroughly mixed together. Add in the pork and put the lid on.
Cook on the lower heat for 8-10 hours. Check the meat every 30-45 minutes after the 7 hour mark. Once cooked, take out on to a large plate and use two forks to shred.
Add back in to the pot, check the seasoning and then serve.
In this recipe, I used: