Thursday, February 27, 2014

Orange-Cranberry Pork Stew

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
Kosher salt
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.

You may notice that I've just installed something new - a "printable recipe" option located below the original recipe. I would like to thank Pat, one of my followers, for urging me to do it and to my friend Penny of 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.

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. That sounds delicious Sam. I love pork butt. It is such a flavorful cut of pork.

  2. Good for you and the Printable:)

    And it cannot be a twist of fate:)..but how lovely that all your dishes are so COLORFUL!

  3. All of my favorite flavors on the plate. And, thanks for the "printable". I've tried to put it on my blog but found it too complicated. I didn't know there was more than one option.


  4. I think this sounds absolutely delicious Sam. And I'm glad to hear you wrestle with the fat in that pork shoulder roast. No matter how hard I try I can't trim enough to eliminate the grease I'd like. BUT, with that said, I love the flavor and always buy it for dishes like this. Pinned.

  5. An interesting combination! I'd love to taste that dish.



  6. Oh, this looks good. I love Cooking Light with its great recipes! I've seldom cooked pork shoulder, but this recipe sounds good and is colorful!

  7. It's also a Cooking Light recipe so is good for us too Sam. I love the thought o the flavour combinations here.

  8. Amazing colours and flavours, Sam. I too would love to taste the dish.

  9. I usually make pulled pork, but this looks so good. A great style/photo tip. I have found fellow bloggers so generous and helpful for no other reason than they have a good heart. Thanks Sam for another great recipe.


  10. Sam, That's a very attractive entree. I'm sure that my better half would love it and I'd give it a try but I'm generally not into sweets with my protein. I'm sure that the pork is moist though...and that's half the battle. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  11. I love orange in cooking, will bookmark this recipe. Thanks. Keep well Diane

  12. I absolutely love your "twist of tastes". This looks amazing. Thanks for sharing!

  13. I see all kinds of things I love is this recipe Sam! Orange, sesame oil and of course the pig! Wish I had a big bowl right now:@)

  14. Hello Sam
    This dish looks so appetizing - I love the presentation and colours and the simplicity of the dish.
    Thank you


  15. Somehow I always like a touch of sweet in my savory this pork stew with the orange and cranberry is just perfect for the color of it as well.
    Hope you are having a fantastic week Sam :D

  16. this looks so tasty and good tip to remove the fat

  17. Wonderful recipe, Sam. I love fruit and meat dishes, the savory and sweet with that edge of hot and spicy. This is perfect for us. I want to try this with lamb! Beautiful!

  18. I'm often confused -- and then, often disappointed -- by the availability of spices and condiments not being available when I want them. I wish I was a better planner. (Although Mr. Rosemary thinks I store a lot of "weird" stuff in the pantry.)

  19. Looks very good and I like the colorfulness. You make such good dishes with fruit.

  20. This is a combination of interesting flavors, and it sounds very tasty. I made a couple of vegetable stews and will try to write the recipe for my blog, but I am terrible at writing recipes – yours are always so well written and the photos accompanying the text just look like in a cookbook. Bravo!

  21. So beautiful....I love the vivid colors.. I need to borrow your photographer! :-) Great work conquering the printable is labor intensive to go through the blog doing it but so worth it!

  22. It's no secret that I adore searing and braising. Pork shoulder is one of my favorite cuts to work with. This is so colorful, and the layers of flavor must really be a party in my mouth. Love this!

  23. The stew looks really lovely - the colors really pop! And don't we all have that bag of cranberries in the freezer? It's an annual ritual of buying and then wondering what to do!

  24. Hi Sam,
    I love the colorful presentation for your delicious Orange Cranberry Pork Stew. The Cranberries (in the freezer) and the Orange's are a perfect addition to this stew.

    Looks like this will be a great stew to try tomorrow. We are sitting here on the porch in 70 plus degrees and by this time tomorrow we are having freezing rain, only in Texas, I am sure you remember.

    Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a great weekend.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  25. Thanks for the info on the chile pastes - I also get confused by all of the options!

  26. My mother taught me that refrigeration trick to get rid of extra fat. I think stews and soups taste better the next day anyway, don't you ?
    Love the fruit in here, Sam.

  27. How beautiful! The fruit must add such a refreshing flavor to the heaviness of the pork. Your cassoulet below also looks really delicious.

  28. Good tip on the pork shoulder. I'm new to cooking it. Great combination of flavors. Thanks for bringing this to foodie friday Sam.

  29. Sam, I love the combination of flavors in this and the advice on refrigerating and skimming the fat. I like stew best when it has been in the fridge for a bit so that the flavors meld so this would be right up my alley.

    About the plateau... It belonged to Adelaide, and we really missed her the other night. My mother had one which my sister took and later sold. It does make a beautiful presentation.



  30. oooweeee.....this sounds so so good. Beautiful photos..
    Here from Tasty Tues....come see me when you can.


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