Thursday, October 16, 2008

Awesome Autumn Stew

I bookmarked this recipe for an Awesome Autumn Stew in Rachael Ray's newer cookbook - Yum-O! We had plans to go pumpkin picking with my brother, and what better meal for post-pumpkin-ing than an autumn stew?

I decided to just throw everything into the crockpot rather than cook it Rachael's way - much easier and lazier. And I also followed her suggestion and used chicken thighs rather than pork.

The taste was pretty good, although it was just a tad to sweet... even for me. Maybe it was all those craisins... I don't know. I would probably change a few things. Also, there was a LOT of liquid! I'd definitely reduce the amounts of broth and cider next time.

Altogether, though, not too shabby for a meal that cost me about 5 minutes of my life to assemble.


  • 1 package pork tenderloins (2 pieces), trim them up and remove the shiny silver skin and connective tissue or ask the butcher to do this for you
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 large onion, chopped into 1-inch dice
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced on an angle 1/2-inch thick
  • 5-6 ribs celery from the heart of the stalk, sliced 1/2-inch thick on an angle
  • 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
  • 5-6 sprigs thyme
  • 4 McIntosh apples, quartered, core cut away, then cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries
  • 2 cups cloudy apple cider
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 loaf crusty whole grain bread

Cube the pork tenderloin into 1 1/2-inch pieces – big bites. Place the cubed tenderloins onto a sheet tray. Season the meat liberally with salt and freshly ground black pepper and toss with the paprika and flour until well coated.

Meanwhile, pre-heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot with the EVOO over medium-high to high heat. Once the oil ripples and begins to very lightly smoke, add the pork to the pot and sear it until it is well browned on all sides, 7-8 minutes (lots of brown bits should be left in the bottom of the pot). Remove the meat to a platter and reserve.

Add the onion, carrots, celery, bay leaf and thyme to the pot and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook the vegetables until they begin to become tender, 6-8 minutes. Add in the apples, allspice and cranberries and allow to sauté until the vegetables are quite tender but the apples still have some legs, 3-4 more minutes.

Pour in the cider and scrape up the brown bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add in the chicken stock and toss the pork back into the hot tub. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow it to simmer for 8-10 minutes or until slightly thickened, cranberries have plumped and apples are tender. Pull out the bay leaf and thyme sprigs from the pot and discard them.

Line the bottom of dinner bowls with a few chunks of bread. Ladle the stew on top of the bread and enjoy!

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