For those of you currently frozen in or deep in snow, or just dragging through the chilly windy English winter, surprisingly some of the best countries to find the most wonderful comfort food are around the Mediterranean! Some of their slow cooked tomato laden dishes are just what you want to come home to on a sub zero evening.
This particular one is from Spain. For anyone that knows me, I am the crock pot queen! That’s totally my bag and I often convert recipes to slow cook. I have a huge crock pot and usually make way too much food, as left overs are just the best! Spanish stews slow cooked just blend simple flavours to perfection, can be inexpensive but impressive! These are great for entertaining, as you don’t have to spend too much on the main course, so can throw in a few little other luxuries like a little caviar on the canapes and some champagne or English Sparkling Wine! (Nyetimber, Chapel Down or Alder Ridge)
WINE NOTE: You can drink red or white with this. Sometimes when I have a hot, satisfying dish, I actually enjoy sipping on a cold glass of white for some contrast. Therefor, keeping it Spanish I would choose an acidic Albarinho. I can understand some preferring a red with this, so a young Rioja/ Tempranillo against the tomato might work. I would be tempted to lean towards Carmenere from Chile though, as it is high in acidity, has black fruit, spice and pepper will work well with the flavours in this stew.
2 tbsp Olive Oil
900g/ 2lb diced pork shoulder
1 large onion sliced
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 tbsp plain/ all purpose flour
450g/1lb canned chopped tomatoes
175m/6 fl oz red wine
1 tbsp chopped basil
1 green pepper deseeded & sliced
50g/2 oz pimiento stuffed olives
freshly ground salt & pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion finely chopped
few strands of saffron
250g/9oz long grain rice
600ml/1 pint chicken stock
Heat oil on high heat, in a flame proof large skillet/frying pan and fry/saute the pork in batches then transfer to a dish.
Lower heat & add the onion to the skillet. Cook for 5 mins until soft & starting to brown. Add the garlic & stir then return the pork to the skillet. Add the flour & stir.
Add the tomatoes. Gradually stir in the red wine & add the basil. Bring to a simmer then pour into the crock pot. Cover then set to auto. Cook for 1 hour. Stir in the pepper & olives. Switch to low and cook for at least 5 hours. Season.
RICE: heat the oil & butter in a saucepan. Cook the onion in it for 5 minutes until softened. Add the saffron& rice. Stir well. Pour in the stock & bring to a boil. Cover & reduce the heat to very low & cook for 15 minutes until the rice is tender & the stock is completely absorbed. Season & serve with the pork.