Amanda & Merrill

Pork Stew with White Beans and Butternut Squash

November 11, 2014

Merrill's daughter Clara has quite the appetite -- and it's all Merrill can do to keep up. Armed with her greenmarket bag, a wooden spoon and a minimal amount of fuss, she steps into the fray.

Today: Pork stew with beans and butternut squash.

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It finally really feels like fall, which means we've officially entered stew season -- and that's plenty of cause to celebrate in our house. We all love braised meat of any kind, especially Clara, so once the wind starts to nip I settle into a weekly stew routine. A couple of weeks ago, I used the last of the green beans from the market to make Fasoolya Khadra, a Jordanian beef and green bean stew that doesn't just allow you to skip the canonical first step of browning your meat, but inists on it. (I see you all shaking your heads, but please believe me -- it's delicious.)

I've been slow-roasting a whole pork shoulder a lot recently, but last week I decided to turn the shoulder, which I get from my farmers market and is always beautifully marbled, into a stew. I had also picked up some gorgeous white beans (I can't remember the name of them but they were tiny and pristine) and a fat butternut squash, so they all went into the pot together, along with a little mustard (my new secret weapon for adding some punch to braises), paprika, and my usual aromatics. I cooked the beans first since there is tomato in the stew, and I recommend that you do the same.

This stew is a herald of fall, and it only gets better as it sits in the fridge for a few days. Serve it with rice, couscous, farro, mashed potatoes, crusty bread -- anything that will allow you to swab up the remaining sauce and get that plate really clean. Clara uses her fingers, and if you want to go that route I won't tell.

Pork Stew with White Beans and Butternut Squash

Serves 12

For the beans:

1/4 pound small, dry white beans
Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 sprig thyme
1 large garlic clove, smashed

For the stew:

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 pounds pork shoulder, well-marbled, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
Kosher salt
1 medium onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 cups diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
2 cups homemade or low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
2 sprigs thyme
1 1/2 cups diced butternut squash (1/2-inch)

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Top photo by Alpha Smoot, bottom photo by Mark Weinberg

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5 Comments

KatherineC October 9, 2016
A few questions - I'm having a dinner party and I think this dish sounds delicious and also meets all the dietary restrictions :). Anything you could suggest to spice it up and give more heat for some adventuresome adults? Also, does it really serve 12 adults?
 
Susan W. November 11, 2014
This is at the top of my "must make" list. As in I'll be bugging my farmer for the pork today. I also have been dipping into the mustard for braises. I make a beef stew for 2 with 2 boneless short ribs. I make a little potion of mustard, Worcestershire and an anchovy (or fish sauce..shh..don't tell anyone) and put it in my stew. It adds a great depth.
 
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Merrill S. November 11, 2014
Love that trick! Will have to try it next time.
 
Susan W. November 11, 2014
Culinary hijinks are the best. I'll be following the recipe as written though. Just found a 12 ounce piece of pastured pork in my freezer. I have everything else on hand. The beans were cooked with pancetta, but that sounds delightful. Making this tonight!! :-)
 
CarlaCooks November 12, 2014
I'll be honest, I first thought you wrote that you'll be buggering your farmer today. I though, 'Wow, Susan goes to great lengths to get good pork!'