Thursday, March 6, 2014

Pork & Prune Stew with Turmeric Rice

This is an old family recipe, adapted from a lamb and prune stew that came from my father-in-law Jim’s recipe files that he collected from the defunct New York Herald Tribune some fifty odd years ago.

The original recipe called for lamb and I substituted pork because pork is a leaner cut of beef and I thought it would make it a bit lighter. I also made a couple of other subtle changes such as substituting beef broth for the water that was called for in the original recipe because I believe it added more flavor and I also added a splash of red wine to the broth.

I encourage you, if you like lamb, to definitely use the lamb. If Jim were alive today, I think he would approve of my subtle changes with the beef broth and wine, but I also think, no I know that he would have preferred the lamb.

Over the years the people who market dried fruit changed dried prune’s name to dried plums, probably wisely, so if you go to the market and can’t find prunes, look for plums.

I’ve chosen turmeric rice to accompany the stew instead of plain white rice to give the dish a bit of color and a more distinctive flavor. If you’ve never cooked with turmeric, take note that it stains absolutely everything it comes in contact with a bright yellow, including your fingers, your kitchen towels, and counter. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Jim's Pork & Prune Stew
Adapted from Jim Hoffer’s recipe files clipped from the New York Herald Tribune – serves 4

1 ¼ pounds pork tenderloin or lamb, trimmed of fat and cut in 1”cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or ¼ teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
3 cups boiling beef bouillon or water
A healthy splash of dry red wine
1 stick cinnamon
12 pitted dried prunes or dried plums, cut in half
1 teaspoon grated orange rind plus more for garnish

In a Dutch oven brown the meat in the hot oil. Take care not to crowd the pan. If necessary, brown the meat in batches. Add the onions and cook to soften. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt, thyme and flour.  Add the boiling water and stir to mix thoroughly. Add a healthy splash or red wine and the stick of cinnamon, cover and simmer for two hours. Add prunes and grated orange rind and simmer for an additional 20 minutes. Garnish with additional grated orange rind and serve right away with turmeric rice, or if you prefer, white rice.

Turmeric Rice or Riz au Tumerique
From The 60 Minute Gourmet by Pierre Franey – serves 4

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
1 cup white rice (I used Uncle Ben’s converted rice)
2 teaspoons powdered turmeric
1 ½ cups chicken broth plus more as needed
1 teaspoon Kosher salt if using low-fat broth
1 bay leaf

Melt half of the butter in a small saucepan and add the onion and garlic. Cook until wilted, then add the rice and turmeric. Stir to coat. Add the broth, salt if using, and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook exactly 17 minutes. Uncover and stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter.

Cook’s notes: You may have to add more broth if it cooks away before the end of cooking time. Taste before serving and if not quite done, cook until you are pleased with the doneness. Take care with the turmeric. It stains everything that it comes in contact with a bright yellow.

This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday at Simple Recipes, and The Comforts of Home Tasty Tuesday.   
Have a great weekend everyone.


  1. I have never heard of prune stew, but it sound amazing with the other flavors. Yum!



  2. Lovely flavors. This dish is very original and simply fabulous.



  3. That's really a pretty plate of food....and I have no doubt, delicious! I happen to love prunes, don't cook with them nearly enough. Nice recipe, Sam.

  4. The combination of pork and prune sounds really good! Thanks for sharing this on Tasty Tuesday!

  5. Good looking meal Sam and I would have never thought to use dried plumbs with pork, maybe cause it's still a prune. :-)

  6. Oh, dear...the only way I've ever liked prunes is in a Prune Cake my Aunt Lola used to make. :)
    Hope your weekend is great...
    xo bj

  7. Yum! It sounds delicious with pork. Never thought of combining it with prunes, but it has to be good!!!

  8. Sam: This looks delicious. I'd love it with lamb as well as pork. The fact that it comes from your father-in-law's clipping files is great. I don't think a lot of men of that era were into cooking or the kitchen!


  9. :::waving my turmeric stained dish towel in the air. Yup, I've cooked with turmeric and learned my lessons. This stew sounds really good Sam. And I love old family recipes like this. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Pinning this and making it soon. I have been trying to figure out what to do with a box of prunes I have in the cabinet.

  11. Sam, Dried plum does have a more positive connotation than dried prunes...and it had never dawned on me! The stew looks great but we'd go with your father-in-law's choice as well. We love lamb! Unfortunately decent lamb seems to be hard to find here in East Tennessee...It's certainly not a common item in the meat counters... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  12. I bet port and prunes is delicious, never would of thought of this myself, Great recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  13. I'll bet the pork is great with the fruit Sam, I love the addition of orange! I bought a jar of turmeric to have on-hand for pickles, think I'll give your rice a try soon:@)

  14. This looks mouthwatering, Sam, and I love old family recipes. Can't wait to give turmeric rice a try.

  15. Another dish that I would love to try...pork with fruit...looks delicious and the rice look so pretty...great meal Sam!
    Have a lovely weekend :D

  16. This sounds delicious Sam and loaded with great flavor. I can't decide if I'd like it better with the pork or lamb, they both sound great!

  17. I know I would love this dish, Sam. I like lamb so that would be my first choice. One of my mother's favorite recipes from her childhood was stewed prunes over egg noodles, topped with buttered breadcrumbs. Believe it or not it is delicious.

  18. Interesting to see Franey was so avant garde way back when. I am liking turmeric more and more each day and use it often in rice. Cheaper than saffron. I also like this recipe better with pork. Pork and prunes, a marriage made in heaven.

  19. I am amazed at the silky goodness that prunes can add to a dish. And it is a wonderful ingredient with lamb. This stew sounds a rich and delicious!

  20. Dear Sam, A bright and delicious stew for a Sunday meal. Blessings dear. Catherine xo

  21. I'll spare the prune jokes. I used to cringe at the thought of them, until I made a prune cake. It was a game changer. I have no doubt that the sweetness of the prunes, and the pork (or lamb) would be a beautiful combination. I love tumeric rice, because it does add so much color. Beautiful dish, Sam.

  22. I'd love to try it with lamb ... but pork is so much more affordable. I'm sure both are delicious.Putting prunes on the shopping list...

  23. I LOVE LOVE the prune in this! It looks so flavorful and never thought to use tumeric with pork before!

  24. Hi Sam,
    We would just love your Pork Prune Stew with Turmeric Rice, what a delicious dish. The addition of the prune will add a fabulous sweetness to this stew, can't wait to taste it!

    Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday. Hope you are having a great week and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  25. This sounds like a delicious recipe, Sam…I can't wait to try it. I have a bag of Orange Essence Prunes that I think will work nicely.

  26. Pork and dried prunes (plums) make a beautiful combinaton. I think Jim would agree that your use of pork was a nice one.
    I have worked with tumeric and I will support your claim that it stains everything it touches but, it is a vital ingredient and it makes curry like heaven.


  27. I think I would like the pork. I have never had much luck cooking lamb, but that is probably my fault - it always tastes gamey. I think fruit is perfect to compliment the savory pork.


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