Wednesday, April 25, 2012

German Pork Stew for Warm Days and Cool Nights

We've been having my favorite kind of weather lately: warm during the day up in the 60s and 70s and then dropping down into the 30s at night. This calls for the kind of dinner that is warming and yet has some bright flavors reminiscent of the warm sunny spring day. This pork stew recipe is just that. It's one of those recipes that I've made several times recently, but have been too lazy to take photos. But it was just too good to not put out there on the blog and so I made sure to capture it this go round.

You already know how I feel about fennel and pork and the addition of caraway seeds here is even better. And I often steer away from recipes with oranges or grapefruit with meat or savory dishes in general, but it is perfect in this flavor combination, and is the thing that gives it a bright springy flavor. Don't skip it! You can also skip the sweet potato if you'd like and switch in a few carrots: I haven't decided which way I like better.

For this recipe, you want to really keep cooking the pork until it is very tender. I find that I start checking at 15 minutes and it usually seems like it's cooked through but maybe tough in a way that will be dry and never get tender. But if you keep cooking it, it really will melt to tenderness very quickly after that. The original version, found on from the Associated Press, calls for a French dressing type garnish at the end, but I think a nice dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of dill is a simple and better finish.

German Pork Stew
Serves 6
1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 leeks, white parts only, sliced
2 teaspoons caraway seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced or 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups shredded cabbage
2 stalks celery, diced
Salt, to taste
Sour cream and chopped fresh dill, to garnish

Cut the tenderloin into slices 1 1/2 inches thick. In a bowl, toss the sliced pork with the olive oil.

Heat a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the pork and brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. It does not need to cook through. Add the onion and leek, give it a good stir to combine and continue to cook until the vegetables soften and begin to brown, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Add the caraway seeds, fennel seeds, celery seeds, mustard, black pepper, orange zest, orange juice and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cook until the pork is very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

When the pork is tender, use a slotted spoon to remove the meat from the liquid. Using 2 forks, shred the pork to bite-size chunks, then return it to the pot. Add the sweet potato, cabbage and celery. Continue to simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Season with salt.

In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, ketchup and relish. Serve the stew topped with a dollop of the yogurt mixture and a sprinkling of fresh dill.