Friday, December 29, 2017

Slow Cooker Pork and Fennel Stew

This is serious winter comfort food.  If you haven't tried cooking with fennel, and if you, like me, can't stand the taste of licorice, fear not, fennel is delicious prepared this way.  I suggest some good quality, medium-width egg noodles for the base, paired with a hearty Zinfandel red wine.  To please both the palate and the budget, look for either a Kunde (rhymes with Sunday) or Bogle Zin.

  • 4-5 pounds pork shoulder (boneless is easier), cut in 1.5” cubes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 x 1.5 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced thin
  • 8 oz mushrooms (optional)
  • 5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • Chef’s choice of noodles, rice, potatoes or favorite starch
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Heat one portion of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat
  • Add onion and sliced fennel, cook until it begins to brown, about 6-8 minutes, then transfer to the slow cooker
  • Reheat skillet and add the other portion of oil
  • If mushrooms are desired, add and cook until brown, about 6 minutes
  • Add garlic and fennel seeds, cook for 2 minutes
  • Add wine and cook until the volume is reduced in half, making sure to get all the tasty scrapings off the bottom of the pan
  • Transfer the contents of the skillet to the slow cooker
  • Add the pork and top with tomatoes
  • Cook covered on low for 6-8 hours
  • Discard excess fat
  • Serve over your choice of starch, topped with Parmesan cheese

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