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A hearty Spanish pork stew with pearl onions and chickpeas in a rich and comforting sauce.
This Spanish pork stew is just what a good stew should be: rich and comforting, hearty, and warming, full of very tender meat pieces. In addition, you have the onions and the chickpeas. And trust me, they are a wonderful addition.
I love a good stew, especially when the weather gets wetter and colder. I grew up with them, stews seem to be the heart of Romanian cooking, not only the kind of meat stew one would expect but also lots and lots of vegetable stews. A good stew can be so comforting on a cold rainy day, it warms you up from inside and leaves you wishing nothing more.
What do you need?
- Stewing pork cubes, they are usually pork shoulder (pork butt), cut into rather large chunks, about 3 cm/ 1.2 inches.
- Small pearl onions are what you need to make this Spanish-style stew.
- 1 can of chickpeas, drained or the same amount of cooked chickpeas, about 230 g/ 8 oz.
Broth or stock:
- I almost always use homemade beef bone broth or chicken stock, depends on what I have in the fridge or freezer at the moment.
- Good quality bought beef broth or chicken stock are perfectly fine. It is preferable to use low-sodium and add more salt at the end of the cooking process, if necessary. Stew tend to be too salty if the broth you use is too salty.
- It gives this pork stew its Spanish touch.
- Use good quality dry sherry, not an expensive one, but not the cheapest either.
- When making any stew or goulash always dry the meat pieces with kitchen paper before frying them.
- Also, cook the meat in batches, don’t overcrowd the pan, or the meat will not sear but rather cook in its own juices. Two batches should be enough for this amount of meat if you use a regular-sized pan.
- I prefer to use a Dutch oven when making stews, but any thick-bottomed pan with a well-fitting lid should be fine.
- 500 g/ 1.1 lbs pork cubes
- 450 g/ 1 lbs pearl onions
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 ½ tablespoon tomato paste
- 60 ml/ 2 fl.oz/ ¼ cup dry sherry
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 bay leaf
- 550 ml/ 2 ½ cups beef broth (Note)
- 1 can chickpeas, drained
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, more to taste
- fine sea salt and pepper
- Pat dry the meat cubes with kitchen paper. Set aside. Peel the pearl onions and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pan and brown the meat cubes, in two batches, on all sides and on high heat.
- Return all the meat to the pot and add the tomato paste, stir well and cook, stirring often, for about 1 minute. Add the sherry, stir well scraping all the browned bits and let bubble until almost all the liquid evaporates.
- Add the hot broth, oregano, cumin, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Stir well, then add the drained chickpeas and the peeled onions. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer, covered, for about 30-40 minutes until the meat and the onions are tender. Remove the lid during the last 5 to 10 minutes of the cooking time to allow the sauce to thicken slightly.
- If necessary, thicken the sauce with the corn starch. Mix the corn starch with a little bit of water until you have a thick yet pourable paste. Stir the paste into the sauce while whisking all the time. Stir well and bring to boil again. Turn off the heat as soon as it boils and stir well.
- Adjust the taste with a little lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Serve with boiled potatoes or rice.
Homemade beef broth or beef bone broth. Or good quality, low-sodium bought beef broth.