Browned pork, slices of spicy sausage, onion, garlic, oregano and pepper simmer in crushed tomatoes to make the first part of the stew. Carrot cubes, bell peppers and sweet peas are added and, off the heat, a heaping tablespoon of pesto is stirred in. But… pesto?
Yes, pesto. If garnishing a stew like osso buco with gremolata works, you shouldn’t be surprised why adding pesto to a cooked meat stew makes sense. It’s about heightening the flavors of the dish which benefit tremendously from the bright perk-me-up tang of lemon juice, heat of the garlic, sweetness of the basil and the incredible aroma of Pecorino Romano.
For the best pork and sausage stew, choose a pork cut with a good marbling of fat. Lean cuts like tenderloin are bad for making stews. Belly (with or without the skin), ribs or shoulder are better choices.
Pork and Sausage Stew
- 1 kilogram pork cubes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil not extra virgin
- 1 cup diced onion
- 6 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
- ¼ teaspoon oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 150 grams spicy sausage (andouille or Spanish chorizo), cut into rings
- 400 grams diced tomatoes we used canned
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 2 cups stock a combination of chicken and vegetable stock was used here
- 1 cup cubed carrot
- ½ cup diced bell peppers
- ½ cup sweet peas
- 1 heaping tablespoon pesto plus more to garnish
- Wipe the pork cubes with paper towels.
- Toss the pork cubes with a tablespoon of salt and half a teaspoon of pepper.
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy wide pan.
- Spread the pork cubes in the hot oil and cook without disturbing for a minute or two to brown the undersides.
- Stir up the pork and continue cooking until all surfaces are browned.
- Add the onion and garlic. Cook, tossing often, until the onion starts to soften.
- Add the oregano and bay leaves. Stir.
- Add the sliced sausage and stir. Cook, stirring often, until the sausage starts to render fat.
- Stir in the sugar, a teaspoon of salt and a quarter teaspoon of pepper.
- Pour in the diced tomatoes and stock.
- Stir and bring to the boil.
- Lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings, if needed.
- Stir in the carrot cubes and diced bell peppers, cover the pan and continue cooking for another 15 minutes or until the carrot cubes are done.
- Taste the sauce again and, if needed, add more salt and pepper.
- Add the sweet peas and stir.
- Cover the pan and simmer for another ten minutes.
- Turn off the heat and stir in a tablespoon of pesto.
- Transfer the pork and sausage stew to a serving bowl.
- Drop in more pesto before serving.