Did you know that cooking meat in large slabs and cutting them only afterward makes it retain more moisture? I had a 1.5 kilogram slab of pork which I browned in a little oil. Yes, browned it whole. Then, I added salt, peppercorns, a few garlic cloves and just enough broth to create steam. I let the meat slow cook for an hour and a half, adding about a quarter cup of broth halfway through.
After the meat had cooled completely, I cut it into chunks, a third of which which I cooked with vegetables (the remaining two-thirds, I put in the fridge for some other dishes). No liquid was added. The meat and vegetables cooked together for about twenty minutes in the steam created by the vegetables’ own juices.
The result was a very rich stew, the meat moist and fork-tender, and the vegetables had none of the texture that they often acquire when cooked in a lot of liquid. They were kind of sticky and slightly chewy, and so very good.
- 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1 large onion roughly chopped
- 3 tomatoes diced
- 2 generous pinches of dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 bay leaf
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup cooked garbanzos (chickpeas)
- 1/2 kilogram pan-roasted pork cut into 2-inch chunks
- 2 potatoes diced
- 2 cups squash diced
- 1/2 c sweet green peas
- parsley to garnish
Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the garlic, onion, tomatoes, oregano, bay leaf and paprika. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-low heat, covered, until softened.
Add the pork, chickpeas and potatoes. Stir. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Cover the pan tightly (a tight-fitting heavy lid is recommended) and cook over very low heat for 10 minutes.
Add the diced squash and sweet peas. Sprinkle once more with salt and pepper. Stir gently. Cover the pan and cook over low heat for another 10 minutes.
Sprinkle the pork and peas stew with parsley before serving.