*AD – I’m working in a paid relationship with BritMums as part of the Family Favourite campaign, sponsored by with Love Pork, highlighting red meat family favourite recipes.
There’s nothing better than a good stew in the winter. Thick chunks of soft, slow-cooked meat, chunky vegetables and gravy and of course, dumplings. I mean, what’s not to like? It’s a relatively inexpensive and simple meal that the whole family loves.
When my mom used to make a stew when we were little, she would make it in a big pot on the hob and serve it in some beautiful dishes. She would always make enough to last a couple of days, and it always tasted even better the next day. I do ours a little differently – I like to use my slow cooker because I can pop it on in the morning and not have to think about it until it comes to just before serving. It also means that whatever meat I use is guaranteed to just melt in your mouth.
I love making stews with any meat, but pork is our favourite. Not only can be pork be lean, but it’s naturally rich in protein, low in salt and provides ten essential vitamins and minerals that support good health and wellbeing. These are: thiamin (vitamin B1), niacin (vitamin B3), vitamins B6 and B12, riboflavin, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, selenium and pantothenic acid. It’s also super versatile, adapts easily to all cuisines and tastes great!
This pork, butternut squash and leek stew (or it is a casserole? I can never quite remember the difference!) has become a firm midweek family favourite. As I said, I can whack it all in the slow cooker with very little prep in the morning and serve it up later, often with mashed potato or some good, crusty bread. I do use a few shortcuts – frozen butternut squash chunks and frozen dumplings being the main ones – anything to make life a little bit easier! Now, I am not the sort of person who sticks to quantities. I tend to chuck stuff in and measure by eye. This made a huge slow cooker full – enough for two adults and three (hungry!) children to have it for a meal and freeze enough for a second one.
Pork, leek, and butternut squash stew
2 packs of lean diced pork (Remember, this did two meals for five of us!)
1 pack of frozen butternut squash/one whole one cut into chunks
750ml chicken stock
2 leeks, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 pack of frozen dumplings (or you could be a bit clever and make your own!)
2 garlic cloves
Coriander, to garnish
On a plate, combine the flour with a few pinches of chilli flakes. Roll the diced pork in the flour and chilli mix, making sure it has a good coating.
In a pan with hot olive oil, fry off the pork in batches until just browned and then transfer to the slow cooker pot.
Add the chopped onions and garlic to the pan and fry off before adding them to the pork
Add the butternut squash, carrots and leeks and cover in the chicken stock
Put the lid on the slow cooker and switch on low for around 6 hours.
An hour or so before serving, depending on how firm you want your dumplings, add them in at the top. They will absorb some liquid, but if you want to thicken the gravy up a little more, add a touch of flour. Pop the lid on and leave until you’re ready to eat.
Sprinkle with some finely chopped coriander and serve with mashed potato or crusty bread.
For more great recipes head to www.lovepork.co.uk.