Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Pork. Peas, Potatoes

I love peas. When spring markets offer baskets of fresh garden peas I try to use them, and often, while they are in season.
Way back in the freezer was a lonely package of pork stew meat. Sometimes in the winter I'll make a stew with pears or winter squash. Though there is still a chill in the air most evenings those wintery dishes feel out of step with our bright spring days and the lonely pound package pushed further and further back in the freezer. We needed something simple and fresh.
I set out to create a kind of French farmers stew (at least the version from my imagination) with a light broth and bright tasty vegetables. I seasoned the meat with salt and pepper and lightly dredged each piece in flour.  One chopped onion and two chopped carrots cooked in hot olive on the stove and when they were softened and just a bit golden I added in the meat and allowed it to brown on all sides. With the meat browned I spilled in about 3/4 cup of white wine, deglazed the pan and let it cook down until reduced -- just about 5 minutes. Next I stirred in some flavor -- 1TB of tomato paste, about 2tsp chopped rosemary, 1 TB fresh thyme, and a pinch (maybe 2 tsp) of chopped fresh sage.  If I'd found some parsley in the fridge or the garden I'd have added in a couple TB too. A pile of potatoes peeled and cut in nice chunky cubes went in next followed by about 5 cups of chicken stock. The stew came to a boil and then simmered for about 40 minutes until the meat and potatoes are tender. Just before serving I added in plenty of fresh shelled peas and let the pot simmer for about 4 minutes more.
In the end we had a spring stew. Not too heavy. Not too thick. Just right with crusty bread for dinner.

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