Autumn Pork Stew from The Bake-Off Flunkie
 
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 lbs pork for stew
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 small onions, chopped
1 teaspoon coarse salt, divided
1 32-oz carton chicken broth
1 12-oz bottle beer (I used a pale ale)
4 carrots, scraped and chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 large turnip (about 8 oz), peeled and chopped
1/8 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
3 whole cloves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth or water
1 sweet potato (about 8 oz), peeled and chopped
fresh ground pepper to taste

1. Trim the pork of any less desirable parts, and cut any large pieces into bite-size ones. Season the meat with about 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Heat a large pot over medium high heat for 2 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium. Add 2 teaspoons of the oil to the pan and heat for about 10 seconds.

2. Add half of the pork to the pan (don't cheat here and add all of the meat at once; if you crowd the pan the pieces won't be able to brown because they'll steam in each other's juice instead of searing in a dry, hot pot). Once they are down don't try to move them; they need a chance to develop that lovely, flavorful crust that's so yum. After about 3 minutes stir the pork to turn them over, and brown the other side. (Don't worry about cooking the pork all the way through--that's what 2 hours of simmering is for.) Remove the browned meat to a bowl, add 2 more teaspoons of the oil to the pot, and repeat with the rest of the pork. Set all the browned meat aside. 

3. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil to the pot. Add the garlic and onion, and cook, stirring often, until the onion has started to soften, 3-5 minutes. Watch the fond (browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot). Super dark brown is good flavor, black is bad (blech) flavor. Adjust the heat if the fond starts to burn.
4. Add the chicken broth and beer, scraping all of the browned bits off the bottom of the pot, and bring it to a high simmer over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, turnip, sage, tarragon, cloves, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pork (and any juices that accumulated in the bowl), and bring it back to a high simmer. Cover the pot with the lid slightly ajar, reduce the heat to low, and barely simmer for 1 hour 10 minutes.

5. In a small bowl, whisk the flour and water together. Add the flour slurry and sweet potatoes to the pot, bring it back to a simmer, and cook, partially covered, until the sweet potatoes are tender and the stew has thickened, 35-40 minutes.

Makes about 6 servings. 

 
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