Fall has arrived with the expected cooler temperatures along with some very long rainy days. When I am bundled up in the house looking out at the dreary grey skies and heavy rain, I love to cuddle on the couch with my pup under a warm throw blanket and read (or catch up on computer work). On days like that, there is nothing as comforting as the fragrance of a slow cooking stew wafting through the house, and I’ve find it so easy to create a great in a slow cooker or crockpot. I cannot believe that for so many years I never wanted a slow cooker and wasn’t even tempted to buy one until last year. Although I do occasionally oven roast a big roast, when it comes to such dishes as stews or chili, I find the slow cooker is the perfect kitchen appliance to use.
I am slowly trying very hard to create meals from the items still in my freezer as we will be leaving Umbria in just 3 weeks and I need to use up all perishable items before we leave. I had a nice pork shoulder roast in the freezer that I decided to turn into stew last week. Although I kept my stew simple and included just onions, celery, and carrots, you could also include diced potatoes, bell peppers, or button mushrooms if you prefer. I love to serve stews like this one on top of a pillow of soft polenta as shown, but you could also serve the stew on rice, cooked pasta, or simply on its own in a bowl.
Deborah Mele 2013
Slow Cooker Pork Stew on Creamy Polenta
- 2 Pounds Boneless Pork Shoulder Roast
- 1/2 Cup Flour Seasoned With Salt & Pepper
- 6 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Large Onion, Cut Into Chunks
- 4 Medium Carrots, Peeled & Cut Into 1-inch Pieces
- 3 Celery Stalks Cut Into 1-inch Pieces
- 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
- 1/2 Cup White Wine
- 2 (14 Ounce) Cans Diced Tomatoes
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1 Teaspoon Finely Chopped Fresh Rosemary
- 1/2 Teaspoon Fennel Seeds
- Salt & Pepper to Taste
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
- 4 Cups Water
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Cup Polenta
- 1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 3 Tablespoons Butter
- Trim the roast of fat, and cut into 1-inch pieces.
- Place the flour in a plastic bag, dump in the pork pieces and shake the bag until coated.
- Heat half the oil in a heavy skillet, and cook half the pork pieces over medium heat until lightly browned.
- Place the browned pork pieces in the slow cooker, then continue to brown the remaining pieces, and place these in the slow cooker when browned as well.
- Dump the rest of the browned pork and remaining stew ingredients except the garnish into the slow cooker and turn it on low for 8 hours.
- Just before you are ready to serve the stew, heat the water in a pot with the salt until boiling.
- Pour the polenta into the boiling water, whisking continually until the polenta is smooth and thick.
- Turn the heat to a simmer, cover, and continue to cook for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring vigorously every 10 minutes until the polenta is soft.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and butter.
- Scoop some polenta into four bowls, then spoon the stew on top, and garnish with the chopped parsley.