Cooking In The Woods: Cast Iron Pork Stew Over Fire
If there is one thing I love it is homemade meat stews. They are so easy to prepare and so healthy for you.
We went up to the mountains to relax and I thought making a stew on the coals of the fire in my cast iron panwould be a good follow-up on my last article “Cast Iron cooking kicks a**…”
The combination of a fatty pork roast combined with sweet parsnips,fresh carrots and a variety of earthy spices like thyme and oregano, gives this dish its unique taste perfect for outdoors and bringing great camping and hunting memories for the adventurous type.
This recipe is intended to help people when out and the only source for cooking is FIRE. (As you can probably see in the pictures we went “camping” (with a lower case c) at a good friends cabin up in snoqualmy pass area. The Cabin is hardly rustic, but hey…you take 3 1/2 kids into back country!) This dish can be cooked at home on your stove, in a crock pot, or an oven [the cooking times will differ for each, but around 2 hours is close]. But you can also WOW your friends and family the next time you go camping by burning a nice bed of coals, and setting the cast iron directly on the fire. This will give it a slight woody flavor and make you look like a regular Kit Carson’s.
1 pork shoulder roast
1 large onion
1 apple (optional)
4 parsnips (peeled)
3 large turnips (peeled)
2 or 3 serrano peppers (depending on how much heat you want in the dish)
6 cloves of garlic
4 sticks of celery
2 bay leaves
1 tbs oregano
1 tbs thyme
pinch of dill
1 tbs pepper corns or ground pepper (pepper corns will give it more of a stronger taste)
sea salt to marinate the pork
Remove the fat from the meat and separate, do not throw away the fat!
Remove bone, set aside. Dice pork in bite pieces.
Fry the fat directly in the cast iron. This will give your stew more flavor and keep the meat from burning. Remember fire temperature is much harder to control than your stove.
Once a nice layer of fat has liquified toss in the meat and sear for a few minutes along with the bone, and the spices.
Dice all your vegetables while you sear the meat.
Once the meat is browned toss in the rest of your ingredients,
Cover ingredients with water, put the lid on and let cook for about 2 hours. Every half and hour or so you have to check on the liquids. I refilled the pan with water 3 times. Don’t worry too much about boil over just try and keep the fire from going out. We did this by burning new wood around the sides of the pot and when they had burned down some moved them to the bed of coals already under it.
WARNING: THE PAN WILL BE EXTREMELY HOT, be careful when you open it to check on the amount of liquids while is cooking.
How to video:
Remove the pan away from the coals and let it cool down. THE POT WILL STAY VERY HOT FOR A WHILE!! so don’t go putting it where someone will decide it needs to be moved and grabs it! Serve with a glass of red wine.