Sunday, February 27, 2011

Seasonal Sunday--Honeyed, Spiced Pork Stew

The sun is shining in the South of France and all around there are signs of spring. I've picked daffodils from my jungle of a garden, eaten lunch on the easterly facing terrace and spent a Sunday afternoon on the beach. These things herald the coming of my favorite demi of the year and with that the end to shorter days and richer, warmer dishes.
French Spring
When we lived in Ireland I learned how to make a delicious pork stew from my neighbor. She made it for us one filtered spring afternoon and I've loved it ever since. I actually made it again later that week; following my tastebuds and adding here and there, tweaking it to make it my own. It is a perfect Sunday stew for this shoulder of the seasons.
Irish Spring
It's the classic combination of honey, grainy mustard and pork but in stew form and gently spiced with cumin and ground coriander. My Irish friend served hers over a mash of fresh Irish turnips and potatoes and it is perfect this way.

Honeyed Spiced Pork Stew

600g pork shoulder, no bones trimmed and cut into bite-sized chunks
6 oz smoked lardons or streaky bacon, cut into small strips
2 organic carrots, diced
2 leeks, slivered
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1 tablespoon runny honey (no flowery ones here)
1 tablespoon flour
1 1/2 tablespoons grainy mustard
olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 160C/320F.

To start, trim and cut your pork into bite-sized pieces and then dry in paper towels and set aside. Chop carrots and clean and slice leeks.
If you're using regular American bacon then slice it into small strips.
Warm a glug of olive oil in an oven-proof stew pot and add lardons or bacon, stirring to keep from sticking for 2 or so minutes until just browned. Add in trimmed, dry pork and brown all over. You may need to do the pork in batches.
Remove the meat from the pot.
Put in the carrots and leeks with the salt and stir well, scraping up all the good bacony, meaty bits that are stuck to the bottom. This will take about 7-9 minutes until the veg is soft.
Then, add the meat back into the pot with the veg and stir to blend.
Add in the spices, cumin and coriander, honey and mustard. Stir well.
Add in the flour and stir to combine then cook for 2 minutes to get rid of the 'floury' taste.

Add in enough water just to cover.
Put a lid on your pot and place the stew in a preheated oven for 3 hours.

Thanks for the recipe
This is absolutely perfect served with any mashed root vegetable either on the side or as a base for the stew like you'd do rice. I love it with the mashed turnips and potatoes as mentioned above but last time I used mashed sweet potatoes blended with creme fraiche.

A note about the cumin and ground coriander. If you don't like fresh coriander/cilantro please don't be put off by the ground coriander in this recipe. It doesn't taste the same in this way and the cumin doesn't overpower or stand out but gently spices the stew in an earthy way. They play a supporting role here rather than the main hit you'll find in Mexican and Spanish dishes. Trust me. (And if you try it and hate it you can tell me and then I'll eat my words.)


  1. Sounds delish and it must smell amazing while it's cooking! Can't wait to try it!

  2. Yum! Sounds lovely Aidan, I must confess I'm a huge pork fan, love this stew! I can't wait for Spring to come either...& chase all this rain away :)

  3. Luscious tender pork! nom nom nom!
    Love the picture of Irish spring, it's making me miss Dublin! x

  4. Ooh, that sounds pretty darn good! Thanks for sharing, I'll the ingredients to the list, and it'll be on the table next week...c'est les vacances!

  5. Cat,
    I hope you weren't disappointed! Next week is a sweet treat.

    Is there anything better than pork with some honey? Except pork with beans that is. I love pork and beans.

    I know...rainbows. But I'm glad to see the sun in Feb so don't miss it too much.

    Try it, try it. And please tell me what you think...I have my little family of tasters who give thumbs up or down but I wonder what 'real people' think.

    C'est les vacances ici aussi. Bon courage!
    aidan x


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