Serve Up Comfort
10/09/2014 08:04PM ● Published by Family Features
Comfort food is a staple in every kitchen - it's the perfect way to unwind with familiar flavors and aromas. But those moments that call for a soul-soothing dish are also great opportunities to spice up traditional favorites by introducing less common ingredients and preparation methods for an unexpectedly delicious twist.
Stewing, for example, is one method you might never have tried - but, when you use a tender meat that's full of comforting flavor like pork, the result is well worth the adventure. Making a stew usually involves browning meat, adding liquid, simmering for a few hours and then adding vegetables - easy, proven steps that let you explore different ingredient combinations to keep dishes fresh and inviting.
Need inspiration to get started? Try Spanish Pork and Fennel Stew with Saffron Rice. This hearty recipe uses a blade pork roast, simple seasonings and vegetables. To change it up, serve the stew with mashed potatoes instead of rice for soaking up the juices.
Spanish Pork and Fennel Stew with Saffron Rice
- For stew, heat 2 tablespoons oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season pork with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. In batches, without crowding (and adding more oil as needed) add pork and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 6 minutes per batch. Transfer to plate.
- Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to Dutch oven and heat. Add fennel, onion, bell pepper and garlic; cover. Cook, stirring occasionally with wooden spoon, until vegetables soften, about 8 minutes. Add sherry; bring to a boil. Return pork with any juices to Dutch oven. Add enough cold water to just cover pork and vegetables, about 6 cups; bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until pork is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Just before pork is tender, make saffron rice. Bring rice, 4 cups water, salt and saffron to a boil in medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to very low and cover. Simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5-20 minutes. Fluff rice with fork.
- Using slotted spoon, transfer pork and vegetables to serving bowl and cover with aluminum foil. Let cooking juices stand for 3 minutes, then skim off fat on surface. Boil over high heat, uncovered, until cooking liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Season juices with salt and pepper. Pour over pork and vegetables and sprinkle with cilantro. Spoon saffron rice into bowls. Top with stew, sprinkle with cilantro and serve.