When we lived in rural SE Minnesota for several years, winters were long, bracing, and windy. I started making this stew to take the chill out of the day and provide the comfort that we longed for. Filled with flavorful, health-boosting ingredients, this stew satisfied our hunger and also put a smile on our faces. It became one of my most requested recipes from guests.
This richly seasoned version is an adaptation of a recipe from a favorite cookbook, The Wine Lover’s Cookbook by Sid Goldstein. The spicy cayenne level can easily be adjusted to suit your taste preferences – add a little more, use less or none at all. For best flavor, choose a good quality, low sodium stock or broth, either homemade or a grocery store brand such as Trader Joe’s, Kitchen Basics, Pacific Foods or Swanson. Kick back and enjoy this stew with a fruity Pinot Noir or Sangiovese, or a more robust Syrah or Zinfandel.
Makes: 4 – 6 servings
1/2 pound dried black beans, or 2-15 ounce can (low sodium), drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 pounds cubed pork shoulder, (1/2 – 1″ pieces)
4 ounces pancetta or bacon, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 cup bell pepper (red, green, yellow), diced
1 cup peeled and diced butternut squash
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried cilantro
1 cup red wine
3 cups chicken stock or broth (low or no sodium)
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons lime juice
Cooked brown rice or other whole grain for serving
Optional garnish – diced avocado, tomatillo salsa, chopped cilantro or parsley, a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt
To Prep Dry Beans:
- Place the beans into a large strainer and pick them over to remove any stones or debris. Rinse thoroughly.
- Transfer to a large bowl and cover with cold water by at least 2 inches. Soak beans for at least 8 hours or preferably overnight.
- Drain and rinse once more before using.
To Make the Stew:
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the chili powder, cumin, coriander, basil, salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Add the cubed pork and mix thoroughly to coat. Set aside.
- In a large stockpot, cook the pancetta or bacon over medium heat until lightly brown. Remove pancetta or bacon from the pan, and discard all but 1 tablespoon of the fat.
- Add the olive oil to the same pot and add the onion, carrot, bell peppers, squash, jalapeno, and garlic. Sauté for 5 – 7 minutes, until soft and lightly brown.
- Add the pork and brown on all sides.
- Add the oregano, cilantro, pancetta or bacon, wine, chicken stock, beans, bay leaf. Increase the heat to bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, or until meat is very fork-tender.
- Remove the bay leaf and stir in the lime juice. Serve in individual bowls over hot, cooked brown rice or other whole grain. Garnish as desired.
Main Photo: Canva
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