I don’t know about you guys, but this Monday calls for an extra dose of comfort.
I’ve been battling a horrible cold for several days now, and all I want to consume is soup. Like, even for breakfast. Just give me a big steaming bowl of soup instead of that piping hot cup of coffee. If you know me well, you know this is a BIG deal. I never forego coffee. Ever.
I managed to power through my yucky symptoms and had a very productive weekend, but it was a struggle for sure. And today is Monday. Yuck.
Lucky for me (and you!), today’s recipe fits the comfort food bill big time. This is about as comforting as things can get when it comes to eating. This pork stew goes above and beyond flavor expectations and is super soothing to boot. Let’s get into it, shall we?
This stew is a sort of hybrid dish. Think of it as soup, a pot of pulled pork, and chicken and dumplings all in one. Except swap pork in for the chicken! It’s a complete meal in one pot, and it tastes like heaven. The stew has savory pulled pork, loads of veggies, chunks of tender potato, and the most delicious depth of flavor, thanks in part to marsala wine. Holland House® marsala wine, to be exact. It’s a delicious flavor infusion for slow-cooked dishes like this one, and I love the slightly sweet balance it brings to this dish. With all the savory going on, a little sweetness is just what the doctor ordered.
The dish starts out with browning pieces of pork shoulder (a no-skip step when it comes to braising any meat, in my opinion) in a big ol’ pot. Then, to the delicious porky drippings, you add your veggies and cook until tender. Then things get a little spiced up with cumin and chili powder (don’t worry, this definitely doesn’t taste like just another chili when all is said and done) and lots of liquid goes into the pot (including that delicious wine!).
Then the pork and potatoes go in and everything simmers together over low heat for a couple hours until the pork is dreamily pull-apart tender and lovely. You can basically get this one going and then go about your life for the next couple hours. It’s easy peasy. I love when meals start out with some prep and then I don’t have to really do anything all that difficult for the rest of the cook time! It is a great thing to make on a Sunday. If you do, you’ll have something incredibly delicious and hearty for dinner after a long Monday. Or Tuesday. Or even Wednesday.
Which is exactly what today is calling for, I think. Head cold or not.
AND THEN! To make matters just ridiculous, the stew gets topped with super easy cheddar cornmeal drop biscuits. The pot goes into the oven and the biscuits bake on top of the stew. They sort of puff up and absorb some of the glorious porky-marsala flavor like dumplings would, but they have a more biscuity heft to them. Plus, there’s CHEESE. So, obviously, we’re winning big time already.
I made this on a low-key Sunday ahead of a very busy week, and it served so many people in my life well. Not only did my husband RAVE about it, but my mom and sister happened to be over around dinnertime later that week, and they both said it was incredible. Like eating a hug.
There’s something really magical about braised pork. I mean, who doesn’t love pulled pork? Turning it into a soup just seems like the right thing to do. When you throw in some cheesy biscuits and a healthy glug (or four) of marsala wine, things only get better. Like, way, waaaaay better.
It’s a serious contender for the”best pork dish I’ve ever made” award. If there was such a thing!
I am loving the flavor this marsala imparts so much, that I’ve partnered up with Holland House® wines to benefit my readers with some fun product!
Holland House® is giving away a suite of their cooking wines (check them all out here) to one of my readers FOR FREE! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post by 5 PM EST on Friday, December 9, 2016. I’ll choose a winner at random. The winner will be notified by email, so please make sure the email address on your comment is accurate!
And even if you don’t win the contest, they’re awesome enough to offer a coupon to EVERYONE. Click here to download! I highly recommend you grab a bottle or two of their wines for your pantry. They’re great for adding depth of flavor to any dish, fast or slow. If you’re looking for even more fantastic recipe ideas using their wines, check out this YouTube channel for some amazing inspiration!
For the Stew:
- 3-lb boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 carrots, sliced
- 3 stalks of celery, diced
- 5 garlic cloves, smashed
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder (or regular chili powder)
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 5 tablespoons flour
- 1½ cups Holland House® marsala cooking wine
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 cup milk
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 large Yukon gold potato, diced
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
For the Biscuits:
- 1¼ cups flour
- 1 cup finely ground cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Pinch of salt
- ¾ cup whole milk
- 1 egg
- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the Stew:
- Heat a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed, oven-safe pot over medium-high heat.
- Pat the pork dry with paper towels and liberally season on all sides with salt and pepper.
- Add the oil to the pot and once hot, add the pork pieces in batches. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until all sides are crisp and golden brown.
- Remove the pork from the pot and place on a plate. Continue with remaining pork. Set seared pork aside.
- Reduce the heat to medium. To the drippings in the pan, add the butter, onion, carrots, and celery. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the vegetables are tender.
- Add in the garlic, spices, brown sugar, and dried herbs and cook for another minute.
- Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and toss to evenly coat. Cook for a couple minutes to get out the raw flour taste.
- Slowly and carefully stream in the marsala wine, scraping the bottom of the pot well to get up all the browned bits.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer and then stir in the stock and milk. Return it to a simmer.
- Once the liquid is simmering, return the pork to the pot, along with the fresh thyme and diced potato.
- Reduce the heat to low, partially cover the pot, and cook for 2-3 hours, stirring every now and then, or until the pork is tender and falling apart.
- Shred the pork to your liking and remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the parsley.
For the Biscuits:
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine.
- Whisk together the milk and egg in a measuring cup and, while pulsing the machine, slowly stream the mixture into the dry ingredients.
- Add in the cheese and melted butter and pulse a few more times to bring the mixture together.
- Spoon dollops of the biscuit dough on top of the stew. I made mine about 2 tablespoons each in size.
- Place the entire pot into the hot oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the biscuits are puffed and golden.
- Allow the stew to cool slightly and garnish with additional parsley before serving.
[This post is brought to you by Holland House® Cooking Wine. All opinions, of course, are my own. Thank you all so much for reading and supporting the blog! You have no idea how much it means to me.]
UPDATE AS OF 12/9, 5 PM EST: THE CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. THE WINNER HAS BEEN SELECTED AT RANDOM AND WILL BE NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. Thanks everyone for your participation and support!