It’s recipes like this Spanish pork stew that make me rethink my comfort food line-up. Perhaps I do need to venture away from some of my tomato-rich staples and let the low and slow method of stewing bring the natural flavors out of other foods.
Stewing typically involves browning meat, adding liquid, simmering for a few hours and then adding vegetables. But in this Spanish pork stew, the pungent fennel and onions are added early to enrich the flavor of the meat as it cooks. To change it up and go grain-free, serve the stew atop dairy-free mashed potatoes, instead of rice, for soaking up the juices.
Special Diet Note: Spanish Pork Stew with Saffron Rice
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, and generally top food allergy-friendly.
This recipe for Spanish pork stew and saffron rice was shared with us by the National Pork Board.
- 3 pounds boneless blade (shoulder) pork roast, cut into 1½-inch chunks
- 1½ teaspoons Kosher salt, plus additional for the juices
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional for the juices
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus additional as needed
- 1 head fennel, cored and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup dry sherry or apple juice
- Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
- 2 cups long-grain white rice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon crushed saffron threads
- For the stew, season the pork with the 1½ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. In batches, without crowding (and adding more oil as needed) add pork and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 6 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, bell pepper and garlic. Cover and let cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the vegetables soften, about 8 minutes. Add the sherry and bring to a boil. Return the pork with any juices to the Dutch oven. Add enough cold water to just cover the pork and vegetables, about 6 cups, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pork is very tender, about 1½ hours. Just before the pork is finished, make the saffron rice.
- For the saffron rice, bring the rice, 4 cups of water, salt and saffron to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 to 20 minutes. Fluff the rice with fork.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork and vegetables to a serving bowl and cover with aluminum foil.
- Let the cooking juices stand for 3 minutes, then skim off fat on the surface. Boil over high heat, uncovered, until the cooking liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Season the juices with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Pour the juice over the pork and vegetables and sprinkle with the cilantro. Spoon saffron rice into bowls. Top with stew, sprinkle with additional cilantro and serve.