Pumpkin Braised Pork
This dish is inspired by a William-Sonoma recipe. I was trying to be healthier and incorporate kale into my diet - and this was the dish that made it happen! Over the years I’ve tailored it to my tastes and eliminated the need for any name-brand products, so now, anyone can make it at home with some basic groceries!
Braising is a great technique for cooking meats (and hearty veggies) as it creates a really tender, juicy dish. PLUS, you have everything in one pot so this really makes for an easy dinner. The amount of actual WORK you put in is under 30 minutes - but braising is one of those “low and slow” cooking processes so just be sure to plan ahead if you’re going to make this dish. Alternatively, you can throw everything in the slow cooker and cook it for 8 hours on low, or 4 on high. Still toss the kale in at the end.
I love this dish because the flavors are really well balanced. Fatty pork is the perfect thing to go with bitter kale. The pumpkin adds the right amount of moisture and a beautiful color to the plate. All the veggies together make for a nutritionally balanced meal as well! Kale, one of the few veggies in season throughout the winter, is loaded with vitamins and helps aid digestion. It can also boost your immunity during this cold and flu season. Adding to that onions are both antibacterial AND antiviral (buh-bye flu virus!). Carrots can also boost your immunity by reducing inflammation in the body and moving your digestive tract along. Along with that beautiful pumpkin; packed with fiber, it puts the finishing touch on this immunity boosting meal.
Give this hearty dish a try this weekend and the whole family will be happy.
Pumpkin Braised Pork
3-3 1/2 lbs. country style pork ribs, or pork shoulder, cubed
1 Tbs. olive oil
salt & pepper
1 Tbs. cinnamon
1 Tsp. nutmeg
1 Tbs. cumin
1 onion, chopped
1 C. stock (vegetable or chicken)
4 carrots, peeled and cut into small carrot sticks
1 15oz. can pumpkin puree
1 bunch of kale, leaves torn from stems and torn into small pieces
crusty bread for serving (optional)
Preheat the oven to 300°.
In an oven proof pot with a tight fitting lid, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
Season pork pieces with salt, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cumin. Working in batches, sear the pork on all sides in the oil. Remove the pork from the pan and let rest on a plate.
Add the onion to the pan and the stock and scrape up any browned bits left behind by the pork.
Add in the carrots. Return the pork to the pan and add in the pumpkin puree. Stir once, remove from heat, cover and place in the oven. Allow to cook for 3 1/2 hours.
After 3 1/2 hours, remove from oven and add the kale. Stir again, cover and return to the oven for another 30 minutes.
Serve hot with crusty bread and good wine.