Making really good stew is like any creative endeavor we practice. It takes time and experience, and requires achieving balance to create a really satisfying whole greater than its individual parts. Spanish Pork Stew with Chorizo and Sweet Potatoes easily achieves this, and will become a favorite. It intrigues with its deft blend of smoky, sweet, spicy flavors. It is well-cooked providing succulent fork-tender morsels. It is addictively good.
Make this stew with any meat or poultry you prefer – pork, beef, turkey, or chicken. Follow two cooking steps for braising. The first step is browning the meat or poultry cubes on the cooktop to lightly caramelize the surface and sear in juices, so your stew tastes richer in flavor. Then loosely cover the pot or Dutch-oven with an ovenproof baking paper sheet or foil sheet, and cook in the oven until fork tender.
If Spanish cured or fresh chorizo sausage is unavailable, include fresh pork or chicken chorizo-style sausage, or another type of pork, beef, turkey, or chicken sausage. Double the recipe easily, change seasonings as you wish. A great party dish, make 1 to 2 days in advance for optimum flavor. Offer assorted grains, legumes, and garnishes. Accent with fresh citrus wedges. Beer, margaritas, sangria, fruit juices, and iced fruit teas are ideal accompaniments.
4 servings. Cooking time is 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours.
Extra-virgin olive oil, grapeseed oil, or sunflower oil
2 pounds (907 kg) fresh pork loin or pork shoulder, large cubes (4 cups large cubes)
Salt to taste
4 ounces (113 g) Spanish cured or fresh chorizo sausage, casing removed, crumbled
OR other fresh pork, beef, chicken, or turkey sausage
1 teaspoon (5 ml volume) whole cumin seeds or to taste
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml volume) smoked sweet paprika or to taste
1 whole garlic clove, peeled
1 whole dried red cayenne chili pepper or ground hot chili pepper to taste
2 orange zest strips
1 cup (8 ounces or 237 ml) soft non-tannic red wine (Examples: Tempranillo, Merlot, Garnacha Tinta, or Syrah) or substitute with broth
1 cup (8 ounces or 237 ml) broth, preferably homemade
2 cups (16 ounces or 473 ml) tomato passata (use canned San Marzano tomatoes, puree)
1 pound (454 g) sweet potatoes (2 large orange-fleshed sweet potatoes), peeled, medium-sized cubes, immerse during final 10 minutes
12 ounces (340 g) fresh firm ripe red tomatoes, peeled, seeded, large chop, add during reheating
Papel de Hornear: Ovenproof baking paper sheet or pierced foil sheet
Plating Base: Optional
Black beans, red beans, or white beans
Grilled soft corn/wheat flour or wheat flour tortillas
Plating Garnish: Optional
Sliced scallion, spring onion, or white onion
Sliced fresh padron, jalapeno or other pepper
Fresh coriander or pipicha leaves
Fresh bitter orange or tart orange wedges, fresh juice squeezed over
Or Fresh lime wedges, fresh juice squeezed over
1. Browning and Combining Ingredients: This step takes about 25 minutes. In a deep broad pot or Dutch-oven, warm the oil over medium heat. Divide the meat or poultry cubes into 2 batches. Lightly brown each batch for about 5 to 8 minutes per batch, lightly salt to extract juice, allow enough air space for even browning. Transfer browned cubes to a bowl to hold juice. Repeat with the next batch. Do not wash the pot or Dutch-oven. Pour out any excess oil.
Preheat the oven to 350 F/175 C/Gas Mark 4.
2. Pour in a small amount of oil into the pot or Dutch-oven, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the crumbled sausage and lightly brown. Add the browned meat or poultry cubes with juice and stir well. Add cumin seeds, paprika, garlic clove, chili pepper, and orange zest strips, and stir for several seconds until their enticing aromas are released. Increase the heat.
Pour in the wine to deglaze. Bring the wine to a boil, without stirring, and reduce until alcohol boils off, reduced by about 1/3 volume. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Add the tomato passata and stir to distribute well. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat.
3. Oven: This step takes 30 minutes + 30 minutes + 20 to 30 minutes. Then cool and refrigerate for 1 to 2 days.
Loosely place the paper or foil sheet over the pot or Dutch-oven to minimize reduction, then insert into the center of the preheated oven to cook for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove the sheet and reserve, stir well for even cooking. Recover with the sheet and cook for another 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and discard the sheet. Stir the stew for even cooking and put back into the oven for 20 to 30 minutes.
During the final 10 minutes in the oven, immerse the raw sweet potato chunks in the sauce to cook, they remain firm. Remove the stew from the oven. Remove the whole garlic, whole dried chili pepper, and nibble on the orange zest strips. Cool down, cover well, then refrigerate for 1 to 2 days.
Reheat: Add the chunks of fresh tomatoes. Over low to medium heat, reheat for 10 to 15 minutes. Taste the stew and season if needed. (Remember the fresh orange or lime juice will add mild sharpness or acidity.) Enjoy every delectable bite!