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Spicy, Wine-Soaked Tuscan Pork Stew

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March 8, 2017 / Italian / By
Anna

 

This simple recipe uses a lot of wine but there is a way to reduce the amount of wine used without any significant flavor loss. Basically, there are two parts to the recipe: the marinade and the ingredients the meat is cooked in. Don't be put off by having to marinate then cook. Marinating happens while you sleep. It’s easy.

The original recipe calls for the marinade to be tipped out and the spices wiped off the meat. This is because there are so many spices. But if you tie the spices up in pieces of muslin, (I suggest using three) so that they can be distributed around the dish of meat as it marinates, then you can throw those spices away but reuse the wine.

As I live in Italy and I can get a robust red, suitable for cooking for €2 a liter or less, I do not bother to take this economical step, but in other countries it might be wise to do so.

I cooked this recipe in a slow cooker. If you want to cook it in a casserole, just add a little more wine and check now and again to be sure it is not getting dry. It should be fine as I had plenty of liquid at the end; too liberal with the wine - always too liberal with the wine.

Tuscan Pork Stew

Marinade

  • 2 cups red wine
  • 2-3 sprigs rosemary
  • 2-3 sprigs sage
  • 1 onion - chopped
  • 1 celery stalk - chopped
  • 1 carrot - chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon each of peppercorns and juniper berries
  • 2 teaspoons of cloves
  • 1.5 kgs pork shoulder cubed

Combine all ingredients in a large glass bowl or sealable plastic bad. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours and better still, overnight. Then tip out the marinade wiping the spices off each piece. (No need for spice-wiping if you use the little muslin bags tip.) 

Stew Mix

  • 1 celery stalk, one carrot and one onion finely sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic (crushed)
  • 2 teaspoons each of finely chopped fresh sage and rosemary
  • Salt to taste
  • Red chilli flakes to taste (optional)
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • ¼ cup of tomato paste
  • 1½ cups of chicken stock
  • 2 cloves, 8 juniper berries, 2 bay leaves and 4 peppercorns tied in a muslin/cheese cloth. I use a metal infuser, one of my favorite tools.

One of my favorite things! No, I'm not having a Julie Andrews moment. This is my herb infuser.

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Set it to automatic and walk away.

Now that was not hard was it? I had too much liquid for my liking by the time the cooker had done its thing, so it would be suitable to cook in a normal casserole. As it was I needed to reduce the liquid in a saucepan. But that was a simple task. I added a tablespoon of flour to speed up the thickening process and if I were cooking this in a normal casserole, I would add this flour near the end as it gave a pleasing consistency to the dish.

Serve with polenta or potatoes and another seasonal vegetable.

 

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Country: Italy

Province/State: Umbria

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$$$ = fine dining,etc

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