Chef Michael Wards provided us this wonderful recipe for Apricot Pork Stew. Don’t forget to read his inspiring story about healing from cancer to become a wellness chef. Michael’s wisdom and our LoveSelf questions may just change your life!
- 2 - 3 lbs – boneless pork shoulder; cut into 1 inch chunks
- 1 small sweet onion; roughly chopped
- 2 cloves – garlic; roughly chopped
- 2 each – carrots; peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons – tomato paste
- 1/2 cup – red wine
- 4 cups chicken or veggie stock
- 1 cup – whole dried apricots; unsulfured preferably
- In a hot and oiled soup pot or Dutch oven sear the pork pieces. No need to cook them all the way through, just get a good caramelization with a nice brown color. If need be, do this in small batches so as to not crowd the pan. (Braising is about laying flavor and this caramelization is an important first step).
- Remove the pork from the pan and set aside.
- In the same pan, add the onions. Cook until slightly translucent and beginning to brown on edges.
- Add the garlic. Sauté for 1-2 more minutes.
- Stir in carrots and tomato paste. Cook for another 3-5 minutes.
- Pour in the red wine, deglazing the pan and removing the brown bits stuck to the bottom. Be sure to come to scrape loose all these tasty bits. That’s where all the flavor is hidden!
- Continue to let the wine and vegetables cook for about 2-4 minutes; until the wine is almost completely evaporated. This cooks away the alcohol leaving the silky essence of the wine.
- Add the pork, apricots, and stock. Ensuring the stock completely covers the pork. If not, add water or more stock until it does.
- Cover and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and let cook for 1 hour. After an hour, remove the cover and check the tenderness of the pork with a fork. If it doesn’t easily pull apart, recover and cook for 30 more minutes. Continue checking every 30 minutes until it has reach a desired tenderness.
- Strain and reserve the broth.
- Set aside the pork.
- Return the broth to the pan. Bring to a boil and turn down the heat until it lightly simmers. The broth will reduce to about half. (This is a great way to thicken the sauce without added flour or grains).
- Once the sauce is thickened, return the pork to the pan.