Sunday, 13 October 2013

Varkens Stoofvlees - Belgian Pork Stew cooked in Beer

This recipe is for Theo. He said this is a traditional pork stew made in Belgium. He challenged me to find the best beer in his opinion a Flemish Grimbergen beer however, my selection of beers from Belgium was limited so I made it with Affligem. I bought 2 dark beers for the stew and two blonds for drinking with it! Plus I did all the prep work on the stove however then I cooked it in a slow cooker which worked out perfect.

You will need:

  • 1200 grams/1.2 kg or 2.5 lbs of pork shoulder or sirloin chops - cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 4-6 tbsp good olive oil or a combination of olive oil and butter to sear meat
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 2 small onions - processed in a food processor or chopped fine
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 small apples
  • 2 cups of sliced white mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp dry mushrooms- re hydrated in boiling water 2 tbsp and chopped
  • a bunch of thyme
  • 3 cloves - crushed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
  • 3 dark Belgian beers
  • 3 sliced bread -with Dijon mustard spread on them
  • more sliced mushrooms to saute just before serving cooked in olive oil/salt and pepper.
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Step 1: slice pork into strips and then into chunks. 

Step 2: dust meat lightly in flour and cook in a hot pan (I have used a cast iron pan because it gets nice and hot and leaves lot of crusty bits on the bottom of the pan) Do not over crowd the pan. Cook in batches so you can get some carmelization on the meat. Set aside.

Step 3: puree onions and garlic until finely minced.  

Step 4: add onions and garlic to pan scraping up all the bits and cooking for another 5 minutes.

Step 5: puree apples.

Step 6: slice mushrooms and soak dry mushrooms in some hot water for 5 minutes then chop fine.

Step 7: add meat, onions and garlic, mushrooms and mushroom liquid to a large slow cooker.

Step 8: add 2 of the 3 beers now, plus the thyme and bay leaves, salt and pepper. Stir.

Step 9: spread Dijon mustard on 3 slices of bread.

Step 10: place mustard side down on top of stew and cook on high for 5 hours.

Step 11: after 5 hours stir and break up all bread to combine. Add last beer and taste. Adjust salt and pepper. Set for 1 hour on low.

I made some fried potatoes and served with a blond bitter beer which was perfect with the sweet, rich stew. The meat is fall apart delicious.  Pork, apples, mustard and beer all perfect friends.

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