I love pork and I'm crazy about beans, but I'm not a fan of traditional American pork and beans. To me, the concoction seems overly sweet. There are so many other ways to combine the main ingredients and come up with something that works.
Here's an easy stew using Italian flavors. The cooking method is suited to cooler weather, but the seasoning is on the lighter side. Fresh rosemary stalks are used here, but as much as I like the flavor of rosemary, I don't like to eat the rosemary leaves. Wrapping the stalks in cheesecloth allows you extract the flavor from the herb and then remove the stalks after cooking.
You can use already-cubed pork shoulder for this dish, but I like to start with boneless country-style pork chops.
Make Ahead: The stew can be cooled and refrigerated for up to 3 days, or it can be frozen.
Servings: 6 - 8
- 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds boneless country-style pork chops or pork shoulder, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (2 cups)
- 2 large ribs celery, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
- 1 1/2 cups tomato puree
- 2 cups no-salt-added or homemade chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon sugar, or more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups cooked cannellini beans (if using canned, preferably a no-salt-added brand such as Eden)
- About 10 sprigs rosemary, wrapped and tied in cheesecloth to form a packet (1 ounce)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Coat the bottom of a large skillet with 1 tablespoon of the oil, then place over medium-high heat. Add enough of the pork cubes to fill the pan without crowding. Brown the pieces of meat in batches, turning each piece at least once; transfer to a bowl. Continue with the remaining pork, adding oil as needed, until all of the cubes have browned. Remove the skillet from the heat.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat in a large (5-quart or larger) Dutch oven or stew pot. Add the onion, celery and salt to taste; reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring, until the vegetables soften. Add the tomato puree, broth, sugar (to taste), and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine; increase the heat to medium-high so the mixture is bubbling at the edges. Add the browned pork cubes.
Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Add the white wine, then use a wooden spoon to dislodge any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Transfer to the Dutch oven, add the beans and stir to incorporate. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed.
Submerge the rosemary packet in the liquid. Once the liquid starts to bubble at the edges, cover the Dutch oven and transfer to the oven. Slow-roast for about 1 1/2 hours or until the pork is tender. Remove from the oven. Discard the rosemary packet.
Serve hot; or cool and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
From Nourish columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
Tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
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