Harvest Pork Stew

I bought a lovely butternut squash from Farmer Dave at the Wakefield Farmer’s Market and, while I love butternut squash any which way – roasted, smashed, in a pie, etc., I was in the mood to try a new recipe.  So, I searched around the Internet and found a recipe featuring butternut squash called Harvest Pork Stew.

I hit the jackpot.

This is really good, really easy to make, and can be done in an hour or so before dinnertime, or be started off early to cook in a crockpot.  In addition, since it also calls for apples, onions, potatoes and carrots, it provides the perfect opportunity to highlight all kinds of  fresh fall produce. With the flavors of sage, rosemary, and bay leaves topping it off – this makes for a perfect meal for an autumn evening.  For the perfect complementary dessert, try my simple but delicious Apple Crisp recipe.

I pretty much followed the recipe I found on  Allrecipes.com verbatim. Here it is with any of my changes or clarifications in brackets. [ ]

To prepare from fresh squash, see How to EASILY Peel Raw Butternut Squash!

•    2 tablespoons butter or oil
•    1 1/2 pounds boneless pork, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
•    2 cloves garlic, minced
•    1 medium onion, chopped
•    3 cups chicken broth
•    1/2 teaspoon salt
•    1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed [I doubled this amount]
•    1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage [I used two fresh leaves]
•    1 bay leaf
•    3 cups frozen, cubed butternut squash   [I used a bit more of fresh squash]
•    2 MacIntosh apples, cored and cubed  [I used 1 1/2 big Macs]
•    2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed (optional)   [I used two medium potatoes]
•   2 cups carrots, peeled and diced (optional)   [I only used two small carrots]
•   [I also added ground  black pepper to taste, maybe 1/2 teaspoon]

1) Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook until lightly browned on all sides. Stir in the garlic and onion, and continue to cook until the onion has softened, and the pork is firm, and no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

Onion and garlic just added to lightly browned pork, with pork still a bit pink.
Pork, with onion and garlic cooked until just tender

2) Place the pork and onions into a large saucepan. Pour in the chicken broth, and season with salt, rosemary, sage, and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Instead of dried, I minced two fresh sage leaves and crushed dried rosemary in my suribachi to make 1/2 a teaspoon.
Ready for the first 20 minute simmer

3)  Stir in the butternut squash, apples, potatoes, and carrots. Return to a simmer, then cook, uncovered until the squash and apples are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and serve.

Three HEAPING cups of cubed squash. The rest went into the fridge.
Two HEAPING cups of cubed apple. I saved the rest for later.
Two HEAPING cups of potato
Just a cup of diced carrots
Ready for the last 20 minute simmer

Slow Cooker Method – I have not tried this, but I bet it is just as good!
Lightly brown the pork in the butter or oil and cook until firm and opaque. Add to the slow cooker along with remaining ingredients. Cook on High for 1 hour, then reduce heat to Low and simmer 4 hours, or until tender.

This recipe was truly a winner.  Steve and I both loved it, it stretched the meat, and was full of tasty and nutritious vegetables.   Next I am going to try it with chicken.  And, I bet the slow cook method would be good with beef.  Post a message if you try the chicken or beef before I do!

Update – If you are in a big hurry, buy the peeled squash halves at the grocery store.  The folks at America’s Test Kitchens recommend such in a pinch, but they do NOT recommend the peeled and cut up product.  However, from a local market that does it themselves, such as Wakefield MA’s Farmland, it is a totally acceptable choice, in my opinion.  🙂