Pork Stew with White Beans and Butternut Squash
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1½-inch cubes
3 tablespoons or so olive oil
— Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1½ inch cubes
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 ½ teaspoons smoked hot paprika, or to taste
3 cups canned diced tomatoes in juice
3 cups chicken or mushroom stock
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cups or so cooked white beans, such as great northern
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, with convection if available. Toss the squash with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Scatter the squash in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast, turning once or twice, until the squash is lightly browned and tender but not mushy, about 25 minutes. Set aside.
Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to a Dutch oven and set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, season the pork well with salt and add half of it to the pot. Brown the cubes on all sides, about 6 minutes total. Remove the pork to a plate with a slotted spoon and repeat with the rest of the meat, adding more oil if necessary. When the pork is browned, turn the heat to low and add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for another couple minutes, until fragrant. Stir in the mustard, tomato paste and smoked paprika and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stock, thyme and 2 teaspoons salt, plus the browned pork and any accumulated juices. Stir and bring the stew to a boil over medium- high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pot and transfer it to the oven. Cook for 1½ hours or until the meat is very tender. Skim any excess fat off the surface.
Add the beans and simmer for 5 minutes, or warm them up and place on the side. Serve in deep bowls topped with the butternut squash.
This is a simple stew with flavors reminiscent of Morocco or Moorish Spain. Serve with saffron or cilantro rice, if desired.
Recipe by Chef John Ash, as found in the Press Democrat. https://chefjohnash.com/