Oyster mushrooms… beautiful, delicious, and possessing a hipster pretension that’s off the charts. When I saw them at the farmers market I had to have them.
But back to the pork. These mushrooms have a deep, round and light taste. Pork stew’s perfect for maximizing their goodness. The stew itself is simple and comforting, like a big hug, and the additional splash of acid from fresh lime gives it that extra push.
Pork Stew (serves 8)
- 3 lb pork sirloin or shoulder
- 3 large onions, thinly sliced
- 3 medium red potatoes, thinly sliced
- 3 oz tomato paste
- 3 large carrots, diced
- ½ lb oyster mushroom, diced
- 3 bottles hard cider
- 1 tsp thyme
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- Fresh lime juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
This is a zen recipe. It’s all about the timing and prepping of a few ingredients. Begin by preheating the oven to 300° F.
Cube the pork into 2” segments and season with salt and pepper. Place the canola oil in a pot over medium heat. When the oil begins to shimmer add the pork and sear. Remember to do this in batches so that none of the pieces are touching. This drives the water out of the meat and traps the juices inside. As the pieces are done move them to a plate.
While the pork’s cooking, thinly slice the onions. Once the meat’s done, add the onion to the pot with a little salt. Let them saute for ten to fifteen minutes, long enough to sweat and become translucent, but only slightly caramelize.
As the onion does its thing, cut the potatoes into a thin dice and stir them into the onion. Let this cook for an additional ten minutes so that the potato will begin to release its starch but not lose its water. This will thicken the sauce without the starchiness of a roux. Once the potatoes are soft, stir in the tomato paste and let the juices work together for another five minutes.
While this is going, on dice the carrots and mushrooms, and add them to the pot with the hard cider and thyme, a little more salt and as much pepper as you’d like. Raise the heat to high and stir until it begins to simmer. Then cover the pot and place it in the oven for four hours.
Once done, remove and let rest for about half an hour before serving. This will give it enough time for the juices to be reabsorbed by the pork, and the pork to become tender enough to be broken apart with a spoon.
Serve with a squirt of fresh lime juice and a sprinkling of cilantro. Enjoy!