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Bacon is great and nobody is saying it isn’t, but when it comes to the piece of pork I most cherish, the belly does not claim the top spot.
The piece of meat I return to, time and again, is the Boston butt roast. (It’s actually part of the shoulder, but I wasn’t in charge of naming it.) It’s big, it’s cheap and it’s versatile. I used the same cut in my last recipe, Instant Pot Carnitas, and I’ll keep using it over and over again, because it can be a giant roast or it can be pulled pork or it can be diced small for chili or, as I did most recently, it can be cut into big chunks and paired with veggies for a hearty winter stew.
I’ll be honest: when I think stew, I usually think beef. Blame it on Dinty Moore. But the most I’ve gotten into cooking with pork, the more I’ve seen how easily it can be slotted into different dishes.
Posole, a Mexican pork and hominy stew/soup, is proof that swine can do very well in a thick, brothy-gravy. And roast pork is a natural with vegetables, so I decided to make a classic meaty stew with vegetables with Boston butt instead of chuck roast.
Electric Pressure Cooker Pork Stew
3-4 lbs. Boneless Boston butt roast, trimmed of large pieces of fat and cut into 1-inch pieces.
1 T bacon grease
1 yellow onion, peeled, cut in half along the pole and thinly sliced into half moons.
6 carrots, peeled and cut into inch-long chunks
3 celery stalks, washed, trimmed of leafy greens and cut into inch-long chunks
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup tomato juice or V8
2 T salt
1 T fresh ground black pepper
1 T sugar
½ t oregano
½ t paprika
1 bay leaf
2 T small tapioca
1. Trim the pork of any really large pieces of tough fat and any stringy fat membranes. Pork can be very dry, so we’re leaving some of the fat, but as this is a braise, we don’t want too much or else you’ll have a very greasy gravy.
2. Start the pressure cooker on the saute function (if yours doesn’t have this function, begin this step in a skillet) and add in the bacon grease. If you don’t have bacon grease, shame on you. Also, olive oil will work okay. Add salt, pepper, sugar, bay leaf, oregano and paprika to the fat, stirring constantly to bloom the spices.
3. Dump in the onion, carrots, celery and garlic and stir into the fat and spice mixture. Allow to cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add in tomato juice and pork, stirring until pork and vegetables are evenly distributed.
5. Sprinkle tapioca on top. Press cancel/keep warm to stop the saute function. Seal the electric pressure cooker. Set it for 45 minutes at high pressure.
6. When the pressure cooker is done, allow it to naturally release pressure for 10 minutes before switching to quick release.
Optional step 7. While pressure cooker is naturally release pressure, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and get out an oven-safe baking dish. After the pressure cooker has released all its pressure, transfer contents of the pressure cooker to the baking dish, remove the bay leaf and cook in the oven, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
That added time in the oven will add some color to the dish, crisping up the top and helping thicken up the gravy.
The tapioca is a great thickening agent, but if you don’t have it, it’s not a must-have. Your gravy might end up a little thinner, but it’s not a big deal.
Serve with roasted or mashed potatoes, if you’re a carb-y kind of person. If not, just eat it in a bowl, with a spoon and a look of sadness on your face because you just know mashed potatoes would take this thing to 11.
The Oklahoma Pork Council represents the interests all of pork producers throughout the state, promoting pork and pork products, funding research and educating consumers and producers about the pork industry. Learn more about the OPC, find recipes and more at OKPork.org.