I know it’s technically summer but the seasons are changing. I mean sure our days are hot and sunny but there’s a crispness to the night air and a cool breeze that wasn’t a week ago. This means only one thing. Fall is falling.
Which is why I wanted something comforting for supper. Like this stew. It’s rich and fruity but with a deep aromatic savoriness that comes from the addition of vermouth, star anise, and mustard. I promise the ingredients emulsify beautifully.
The only criticism I have of this recipe is that no matter how much I make, there are never any leftovers. Really, it’s that good.
1.2 lbs of pork shoulder steaks
2 onions, sliced
2 fennel bulbs thickly sliced (Save the fronds to chop and put atop the stew before eating)
2 large green cooking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
3 smashed garlic cloves
2 stars of anise
1 cup of Noilly Prat
1 cup of chicken stock
2 heaping tablespoons of Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons of salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
First, season the meat. Brown it in a large ovenproof casserole and set aside.
Add a drop more oil to the pork grease. Then the star anise, the vegetables, and the apple slices. Cook until soft.
Dice the pork and add it to the pot. Stir for a minute just to make sure the meat is browned, not fully cooked but browned, then add all remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer.
Cover the casserole and put it in the oven at 330F/150C/Gas2 for 3 hours. After the first hour and a half, remove the casserole to give it a good stir. Be sure to scrape the brown savory grease that coats the sides of your dish.
Continue cooking for another hour. Then remove the lid for the final 30 minutes to thicken and reduce. When you are ready to serve, be sure to remove the star anise and sprinkle with chopped fennel fronds. Delicious on its own with a thick slice of your favorite bread, boiled potatoes, or rice.