Pork stew. Light enough for summer. Filling enough for dinner.

Speedy and I saw Broken City recently and I was shocked at how Catherine Zeta-Jones looked. Her facial muscles appeared frozen. Too bad. I always considered her to be one of the most beautiful actresses of my generation. So youthful and fresh in Zorro, so casually sexy in Entrapment and such a wonderful actress in Chicago.

The romantic comedy-drama No Reservations, a film I enjoyed immensely, was probably among the last films where I saw her looking like the real her. A love story between two chefs, Kate (Catherine Zeta-Jones before her terrible face job) was asked by fellow chef Nick (Aaron Eckhart):

“What are the three secrets of French cuisine?”

“Oh, come on. Everybody knows that.”

“Oh, yeah? So, what are they, smarty-pants?”

“Butter, butter and butter.”

Amen.

Unlike most stews that require a dozen things to be chopped and minced to make sure that the sauce will be thick and rich, the sauce of this stew is made with only two things — broth and roux. And roux is nothing more than butter and flour. And it works its magic beautifully.

Recipe: Summer pork stew

Ingredients

  • 400 g. of stewing pork (belly, shoulder or butt), cut into bite-size pieces and sprinkled lightly with salt and pepper
  • 6 tbsps. of butter
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 large or 2 medium potatoes, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsps. of flour
  • 2 c. of meat broth, preferably homemade
  • 1/4 c. of sweet peas

Instructions

  1. Melt 2 tbsps. of butter in a thick-bottomed pot. Brown the pork very lightly (read why) over medium-high heat. Scoop out and set aside.
  2. Melt another 1 tbsp. of butter in the pot. Add the onion, carrot, potato, celery and garlic and cook over medium heat, with occasional stirring, for a few minutes or just until the onion pieces turn translucent. Put the pork back in. Pour in the broth. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer.
  3. When pork and vegetables have been simmering for 30 minutes, melt the rest of the butter in a small sauce pan. Add the flour, all at once, and make a blonde roux (see how to make a roux). Take about a cup of the broth from the other pot and pour slowly into the butter-flour mixture to make a paste. Add the paste to the pot with the pork and vegetables. Add the peas at this time too. Taste, adjust the seasonings and continue simmering for another 15 minutes or until the pork is done.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s)

Number of servings (yield): 2 to 3

Pork stew. Light enough for summer. Filling enough for dinner.