Photo by Andrew Scrivani
The snow is back.
I was so opimistically sure it was gone for the season that I shrugged off the forecast, then woke up to a layer of white on the deck. Suddenly, my light and lovely salad cravings were gone, displaced by a desire for wintry, meaty stews. Like this one.
It's a recipe from my next cookbook, Cook This Now, a seasonal diary of what I cooked every month last year, each month its own chapter. And as I promised before, I'm going to give you a sneak preview of one recipe per month until the book comes out in October. Here is the installment for March.
Given the weather, I can't think of a more perfect dish to cook now than this rich and heady pork stew, guaranteed to soothe your spirits and warm you up from the damp cold. It's the kind of dish that improves with time - so the leftovers taste even better the next day -- even if the weather warms up and goes back to being spring. Fingers crossed.
Serves 4 to 6
2 pounds pork shoulder (also called pork butt), cut into 2-inch chunks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced
5 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 (28-ounce) can plum tomatoes
1 cup dry red wine
2-inch piece cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs rosemary
2/3 cup pitted and roughly chopped green olives
Cooked polenta, for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 300° F. Season the pork shoulder generously with the salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil and sear the pork, turning, until it is well browned all over, about 10 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate.
2. Add the leeks and garlic to the Dutch oven and brown, stirring, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Return the pork to the Dutch oven and add the tomatoes, wine, anchovies, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, and rosemary. Cover the Dutch oven and place it in the oven. Cook it for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, turning the pork twice during cooking (once after 45 minutes and again after an hour and a half).
4. Raise the temperature to 425° F. Uncover the Dutch oven and add the olives. Continue cooking, uncovered, until the liquid is reduced and the meat is very tender, about 20 minutes more. If you have made this ahead of time, let it cool so the fat has a chance to rise to the surface, then spoon it off if you like (I don’t usually bother). If you’ve made it the day before, chilling hardens the fat and makes it really easy to spoon off. Reheat if necessary and serve over polenta.