This stew is based on a simple “twist of tastes.” It’s fruity and tart with a bit of spice all at the same time. The flavors from the combination of the orange and cranberries spiked with very small shot of hot chili paste and a bit of intrigue from the dark sesame oil just burst in your mouth and I’ve never eaten anything quite like it.
The pork is meltingly tender and the stew goes very well with rice. The fruit ends up cooking away and integrates into the sauce and virtually disappears. So if you want it to look pretty like the picture, I recommend that you use my suggested garnish of fresh orange segments and a sprinkling of cooked cranberries before serving, which was not a part of the original recipe.
This was my first experience in cooking with a pork shoulder, also known as a Boston butt. We trimmed every bit of fat we could from the pork, but the stew still ended up looking a bit greasy. But don’t let that be a problem. Simply let the stew sit in the refrigerator overnight and skim the fat from the top before you reheat it. Letting it rest also gives the flavors a bit more time to meld. Remember that bag of cranberries you tucked away in your freezer? This is perfect time to get it out. Also some supermarkets sell bags of frozen cranberries in their freezer section all year long. The closest thing I could find to the sambal oelek (ground fresh chili paste) at Publix in the Asian section was Thai Kitchen’s roasted red chili paste, which worked out perfectly, but Amazon has a nice selection of sambal oelek on line. If you are as confused as I am by all of the different chili sauces, here's an excellent article from "Eat It Atlanta" that explains them very well. I wish I had found it before I searched for sambal oelek.
This stew is most definitely a have-again and the only thing I would change is to double it because it was so good.
Orange-Cranberry Pork Stew
Adapted from Cooking Light – serves 4
1 medium Naval orange (more if you wish to garnish, see below)
1 ½ teaspoons dark sesame oil + more as needed
1 pound boneless pork shoulder, also known as a Boston butt, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1” pieces
½ cup coarsely chopped onion
5 garlic cloves, peeled & chopped
1 cup low-sodium, low fat chicken stock
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sambal oelek (ground fresh chili paste)
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (more if you wish to garnish, see below)
4 cups hot cooked long grain white rice
2 tablespoons diagonally cut green onions, including green tops
Garnish of more orange segments and cranberries if desired (see below)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Peel and section and orange over a bowl; squeeze membranes to extract juice. Set sections aside; reserve orange juice.
Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan and swirl to coat. Sprinkle pork evenly with salt. Add pork to pan, taking care not to crowd or it will steam, and sauté 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. You may have to cook the pork in batches as I did. In that case, you will need more dark sesame oil. Add ½ cup chopped onion to pan and sauté 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in orange sections, reserved orange juice, chicken stock, brown sugar, and chili paste. Cover and bake for one hour. After 1 hour, stir in the cranberries. Bake, covered, for an additional 30 minutes or until the pork is fork-tender.
At this point, the stew can cool and be stored in the refrigerator, covered, over-night (recommended to be able to skim excess fat). The day of serving, remove the stew from the refrigerator, scoop off the accumulated fat and discard. Reheat the stew slowly while you prepare the rice. If you prefer a thicker stew, reduce the broth to ¾ cup, or simmer on top of the stove after baking.
To serve, place 1 cup of cooked rice in each of 4 bowls. Top each serving with about ¾ up of the pork mixture. Garnish if desired with the additional orange sections and cranberries, then sprinkle with green onions. Serve right away.
Garnish - optional but highly recommended
From My Carolina Kitchen
1 – 2 oranges, depending on their size, peeled and cut into segments
½ cup or so cranberries, fresh or defrosted, cooked in water until their skins pop, and then drain well.
Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen for her help and guidance in finding and helping me with an easy program from Google that I could install myself. I have updated most of my recent posts with the printable recipe option, but if you run across one that doesn't have it and you want to be able to print the recipe, please email me and I'll fix it right away.