Herbed Pork and Vegetable Stew

This is something I came up while planning to make a hash.  Isn’t it funny how sometimes we start out with a certain type of recipe in mind, then something takes over and the result is pretty off base from where we planned to end up!  But, so often the result is super yummy and we’re glad we ended up where we did!  That’s the beauty of cooking … the possibilities are endless and we are only limited by our creativity!

To make the stew:

Begin with 5 – 7 thin, boneless pork chops.  Cut into small chunks and place into a gallon zip-top plastic bag.  Season with kosher salt, pepper, paprika and a hefty pinch of herbs de Provence (or whatever dried herbs you like and have on hand that would go with pork).

Allow to marinate in the fridge for, at least, thirty minutes.  Sear pork in olive oil on high heat on the stove top. 

Once seared, add in an onion (chopped), a couple of cloves of garlic (chopped finely) and a small tomato (chopped).  Add in 6 – 7 cups of chicken stock.  You can, also, use water with bouillon cubes or chicken base.  (The photo below is shown with only a couple of cups of broth at that point into the pot as I wanted to be sure the veggies would show through in the photo.)

Cover and simmer on medium for about 30 minutes.  In the meantime, scrub and prick with a fork 4 – 5 potatoes.  Heat in microwave for about 5 minutes.  The potatoes should only be cooked about half-way. 

Once cooled enough to handle, peel potatoes and chop into large chunks.  Peel and slice up 2 large carrots.  Place both the carrots and potatoes in the soup pot.  Add in whatever fresh or frozen veggies you like or have on hand.  I added lima beans, corn and peas

Cover once again and allow to simmer on low to medium for 20 minutes.  Now, you’ll add in 4 peeled and chopped raw potatoes.  Stir to combine.  These will hold their shape at the end of cooking while the ones added earlier will be used more to thicken the stew as they sort of melt into the stew.

Allow stew to simmer covered for about 30 minutes or until pork and the newest addition of potatoes are tender.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Uncover, turn burner off and allow stew to “rest” for 30 minutes.  You can see below how the first addition of the half-cooked potatoes thicken the stew.

If needed, turn burner back on for a few minutes when ready to serve to heat soup back up if it has cooled down too much.  Serve in bowls and top with some sliced green onions (optional) … alongside some crusty bread or fresh-made dinner rolls.

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