One of my favorite entrees for cooler fall and winter evenings is the stew I want to share. I found it several years ago in Cooking Light, and it's an exception to my usual feeling that their recipes are a little too light for my taste. This one, with its Mediterranean flavors and healthful ingredients, is a true favorite of mine. It is on the lighter side, which is sometimes a nice break from the more hearty foods I love in fall and winter. But it still has a richness to it that is satisfying in cooler weather. And it makes a great lunch for fall and winter days too, brightening up my workday with a little mini-vacation to France for my tastebuds!
If you've never tried cooking with fennel, don't be afraid to try it. It has a texture very similar to celery (without the stringiness) and a mild, anise flavor. Cooked, it is super-yummy and brings a new dimension to the other flavors in the stew.
I like to serve this with warm, crusty rosemary sourdough bread and maybe some garlic butter green beans. Yum! Hope you will enjoy it as well!
Provencal Pork Stew
(Adapted from Cooking Light)
This makes enough for 4 - can easily be doubled
1 bulb fennel, sliced thinly
1 large yellow onion, sliced thinly
4-6 garlic cloves, minced (to your taste)
1 pound pork tenderloin - cut into bite size pieces
1 (14oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
Pitted Kalamata or Nicoise olives (to taste) - halved
White wine as needed
Chicken broth as needed
1 Tbsp Herbes de Provence (to taste)*
Chopped fresh parsley
Note: I haven't given precise quantities on some ingredients above because most things are to taste or as needed. Make it the way you like it!
In a large, heavy-bottom pan, heat olive oil and saute the fennel and onion until tender. Add garlic and saute a couple minutes more; remove mixture from pan and reserve.
Meanwhile, dredge pork in a little flour, shaking off excess. Heat some more olive oil in your pan and brown the pork on all sides, sprinkling with salt and pepper to taste. When pork is browned, deglaze the pan with some white wine - make sure you get all the yummy brown bits off the bottom! - and add some chicken broth - you want about 1 cup total liquid.
Add the fennel mixture, herbes de provence, and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer about 45 minutes, then add olives and adjust seasoning. Simmer uncovered until pork is tender and sauce has thickened, another 10 or 15 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with crusty garlic toast!
*If you don't have Herbes de Provence, just make a mixture of equal parts (dried) basil, marjoram, rosemary, sage, savory thyme and lavender.
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