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Author Notes: Chef Amorette Casaus runs a small kitchen at Ardesia Wine Bar in New York City, but manages to serve family meal every day to a staff of ten -- and almost always cooks it herself. With only three induction burners at her disposal to put out Ardesia's extensive small plates menu, Casaus knows the meal must be broadly appealing and take less than an hour to cook. On the chilliest of winter days, she creates this lush, comforting stew with the leftover belly and braising liquid from Ardesia's Pork Belly Bites salad, and throws in the pork shoulder scraps left over from their house-made Mortadella and Cocktail Sausages (that's right, Ardesia is putting the class back in cocktail weenies!).
Casaus recently spent a weekend at a farm in New Jersey to learn all about shaggy-haired Mangalitsa pigs and found herself with a whole lot of the flavorful heritage pork, which she wove into Ardesia's menu and, naturally, into family meals like this stew. For our version of Casaus' dish, which streamlines the pork belly braising and stewing into a one-pot affair, any breed of pig -- heritage or not -- will make for a hearty, decadent dinner that can bring calm to the roughest of winter storms. —Family Meal
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- salt and black pepper
- 1 pound pork belly, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 1/2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
- 3 large creamer potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), roughly chopped
- 4 medium shallots, thinly sliced
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 2 quarts chicken stock
- 15 ounces can whole tomatoes
- Heat canola oil in a heavy pot or Dutch oven. Season pork belly and shoulder with salt and black pepper and, starting with the belly, sear in batches till well-caramelized. Remove and reserve.
- Sweat chopped onion, carrot and potato in the rendered pork fat just until onion becomes transparent, then remove and reserve the vegetables.
- In the same pot, sweat shallots, thyme and bay leaf.
- Deglaze with red wine and simmer till reduced by half. Return pork belly and shoulder to pot. Add chicken stock, tomatoes (crushing them in hand as you go) and their juice and bring back up to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
- Simmer for 1 1/2 hours, partially covered, skimming fat as needed. Once the pork is nearly as tender as you'd like it, add back in the reserved onion, carrot and potato.
- Simmer until potatoes and carrots are tender but not falling apart, about 20-30 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.