Winter squash pork stew, because winter is not over and there is no end in sight. So our city is clouded with flurries, trains can’t move, piles of plowed snow are dumped onto precious parking spots, and you are stuck inside. Still, wouldn’t it be nice to have a hearty and robust stew of spiced pork and winter squash? The rich flavor of this meal will surely keep your belly nice and toasty during cold nights.
It’s funny that acorn and butternut squashes are considered “winter” squashes when they’re available year round and are grown during the summer. I suppose they get their “winter squash” title because they develop a thick outer skin which allows them to be stored for long periods of time. This stew uses a duo of butternut and acorn squashes.
Butternut squash was something I overlooked for all season. Shame on me, right? I was bad. I used to buy the pre-cut butternuts out of pure laziness. Such a bad thing to do. The rind of the butternut squash is very easy. It’s long and smooth tubular shape makes the squash easy to handle. Just slice the ends, and graze your knife along the sides.
Acorn squash on the other hand, is still a pain to peel. Yes, I used a peeler to remove the rind. It’s a miracle I didn’t maim my fingers trying to wrestle my peeler over the ridged exterior. Regardless of the preparation pains, both butternut and acorn provide a ton of nutrients and minerals and a balancing sweet veggie taste. They are the perfect winter squash team.
As for the meat, I can’t think of any other better cut than a juicy pork shoulder. The Mexican oregano and chile give the dish a Southwestern flair, but the smokey paprika and cinnamon add a touch of Moroccan. And all balanced by the sweetness of the winter squash duo. It’s a lovely combination.
- 3 lb Pork Shoulder
- 1 Tablespoon of Coriander
- 1 Tablespoon of Smoked Paprika
- 1 Tablespoon of Sea Salt
- 1 Tablespoon of Mexican Oregano (or regular oregano)
- ½ Tablespoon of Black Pepper
- 1 teaspoon of Cinnamon
- 4-6 Dried Red Chiles, finely chopped
- 2 medium Yellow Onions, sliced
- 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 2 cups of 1 inch-cubed Butternut Squash
- 2 cups of 1 inch-cubed Acorn Squash
- 3 Tablespoons of Cooking Fat (lard, coconut oil, ghee)
- Roasted Pepitas and Cilantro for Garnish
- Cut the pork into 2-inch cubes.
- Combine the coriander, paprika, salt, oregano, pepper, and cinnamon and rub the spice mixture onto the pork.
- Heat a dutch oven or large pot to medium high and add the cooking fat.
- Add the seasoned pork and cook until browned, about 8 minutes. Remove from the pan.
- Add the chiles, onions, and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes. Return the pork to the pan and add about 8-10 cups of water to cover the meat.
- Bring to a boil and reduce heat to about medium. Simmer partially covered for about 3 hours.
- Add the butternut squash and acorn squash and simmer for another 30 minutes until squashes are soft.
- Garnish with roasted pepitas and cilantro and enjoy!
- This stew is ‘spicy’ when using 6 red chiles. However, my heat tolerance is fairly high. You can always add 2-4 chiles at the start and re add the two later with the squashes. Also, leaving out the seeds will diminish the heat.
- You can do the first two steps the night before and let the spices marinate into the meat.