Heaven in a Bowl: Lisa’s Winter Stew

A few weeks ago, I’d asked J. to pick up a mix of root veggies so we could have them with various upcoming meals. He got a couple of sweet potatoes, garnet yams, russet potatoes, yukon golds (about 1 lb) and a couple of butternut squash. The law of cooking being what it is in my household, we ate one butternut and just haven’t gotten to the rest.

(Yeah, I know “just haven’t gotten to it” is a very lame excuse. It’s only redeeming value is that it is also true.)

Yesterday morning I quickly glanced through our pantry and fridge to make sure we weren’t going to have a lot of rotting things greeting us when we return from SF. (Virgo, aka A/R, alert: We’re not leaving till Sunday, so this meant I could use up stuff over the course of 4-5 meals.) The sight of all that lovely starch made me very sad and I resolved to do my best to do something with all of it before we left.

At first I was tempted to just cook it and mash it, because $5 dinners did it. But then I realized I wasn’t sure how well it would freeze. So when I ran to the (fantabulous) Metro Market for lunch, I tried to think of something to make. A row of fresh-pressed apple cider caught my eye, and I decided to cook a pork roast with cider and use the sweet potatoes and yams (don’t you know its a fundamental precept of the universe that pork+cider+sweet potato = YUM? It is. Unless you’re a vegetarian.)

A quick chat with the lovely meat lady, and I was handed 4 pounds of pork shoulder. “Do you have anything smaller?” I asked, “it’s just my partner and I.” No problem, she just cut it in half. I added that cider to my basket and went home. (Lunch, if you must know, was lox, bagel, smoked gouda, and an apple.)

Once home I started looking for a recipe, but ended up combining two. One was a Pork & Pumpkin Stew (from Gourmet magazine, October 1991) and the other my old favorite Winter Squash and Chicken Stew with Indian Spices.

My recipe is this:

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