I was looking through my dad’s folder of handwritten recipes for the Coq au Vin he used to make, my choice for Valentine’s Day dinner, when I found another–Greek Pork Stew. It sounded like the perfect thing for a cold winter night and something that would freeze well for next week when I’m on a cheese-making course in Lynden and my husband is here; I thought it would be nice to have a few alternatives to his usual home-alone peanut butter toast. Until a few years ago, I thought pork was the worst of all meat–a pale, dry, tasteless lump. And then came exposure to farm-raised pigs and I understood; that crate-free life foraging in the sun and fresh air isn’t just more humane, it makes for pork that is rich, slightly red in color and full of fat and flavor.
Greek Pork Stew
1 1/2 lbs. pork shoulder, cubed
4 or 5 T olive oil
1/2 lb. small white onions, peeled and left whole
8 cloves garlic, sliced
1 28-oz can whole tomatoes, cut into pieces in the can with kitchen shears
1 1/2 cups red wine
2 bay leaves
zest of one lemon (remove strips with a vegetable peeler)
1 T chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 T chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper
Brown the pork in olive oil in a dutch oven, working in a couple of batches. Remove and set aside. Add the onions and garlic and cook gently, adding a little water to keep from burning, for about 5 minutes, covered. Remove cover, add back the pork and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and place the lid on, but not tightly, so that some of the liquid can escape. Simmer for about 2 or 3 hours or until the pork is very tender. Remove pork and onions with a slotted spoon and set aside. Raise heat on stove and simmer liquid until thickened. Return pork and onions to pot and stir to heat through. Serve with roasted potatoes or with orzo.