Growing up, we ate very traditional Polish foods. Since I started my love affair with cooking, I have enjoyed experimenting with ingredients that weren’t normally found in my childhood home. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I discovered my love of cooking with ingredients such as squash and fennel. This recipe utilizes two of my favorite ingredients – fennel and butternut squash. It is a very hearty and delicious stew. It also heats up well for leftovers for lunch or dinner.
Spice rub for pork:
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
dash of ground nutmeg
3 pounds of pork, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped thinly sliced pancetta or bacon
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
28 ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
2 cups low salt chicken broth
2 large fresh fennel bulbs, cut into 1 inch pieces (reserve the fronds to top your stew when serving)
1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed into 1 inch pieces
Place pork in large bowl. Mix together the spices for a rub, and add to the pork, coating it evenly. Let this stand for about 30 minutes in your refrigerator.
Heat oil in a large stock pot. Add bacon or pancetta and saute until done. Transfer to a small bowl. Add the pork to your pot and saute for about 10-15 minutes, mixing well to lightly brown all sides. Add onions and garlic and continue cooking about 5 minutes. Mix in tomatoes with juices and chicken broth. Bring the mixture to simmer, and cover. Cook the stew for another 30 minutes, then add fennel, some of the chopped fronds, and squash cubes to the pot. Cover and cook in oven until pork and vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper. Enjoy!